Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ginning Cotton by Hand

The following image, from the following site, found amid whatever search result at the time, several years ago, is what spurred my interest in this method. And how fortunate I feel, to have been able to find an actual video on YouTube; during my last years of searching out different methods of ginning cotton by hand. And, as promised, here is my follow up post.
As I stated, recently, in My Study of Cotton post, I would love to own a Asian Hand Crank Cotton Gin; but--- I simply don't see being able to purchase one while living on such a restrained budget.  But, THIS I am able to accomplish.  THIS I am able to find suitable substitutes from among my household and/or humble studio possessions. And, so I did.
Once you get things prepped and ready, it really goes rather quickly. 
A Little of This-n-That
Special Note: Click on any photo for a Slide Show
Lest we forget--- Not everyone World-wide uses Hand Carders or Flicker Brushes.  While Teasel was used to full woven fabrics--of natural fibers, I will definitely be on the search for some this Fall, to experiment with my own cotton preparation. I'm thinking of using maybe just two or three teasel heads to make a small brush.

As I was looking for examples of Teasel Brushes [you are welcome to visit my Fiber Preparation Board--where I have pinned several examples], I could not help but ponder whether or not the old iconic Fuller Brush has anything to do with Fulling Brushes. Especially since the tradespeople--way back when--were known as Fullers. While I have found no connection between Teasel carders/brushes and the Fuller Brush Company, one could admit it is a very striking coincidence. Don't you think?
National Trust Inventory No. 117317.14
Fuller Co. Kitchen Brush

Wha-a-at for it----- (~:

And, thank you Sheldon and Penny, for that whimsical Newton Analogy. (~:
Imagine, however, using the dried jaw bone of a freshwater fish to card fibers as they do, to this day, in Ponduru in the district of Srikakulam.
"the dried jawbones are cut into serviceable sized pieces and anchored to a stick with string. These tools can be used daily for almost a year and a half before they have to be replaced." 
Textile Tour of India

This all said, here I am--- armed with my trusty Flicker Brush. (~: And, until I can find and harvest some of my own teasel, it will remain so. Though, if you are working with freshly picked Bolls--the fibers are nowhere near as compacted as that which has been baled or compressed for storage and/or shipping--you can loosen the fiber easily enough with your fingers.

Special Note: Think also of using any small slicker brush from any Pets Department .

The smaller individual bolls that I worked with--the Wild Uplands Cotton from Florida [Thank you ever so much, Amy Matilda]--have 4 to 5 seeds hidden away.  The cotton bolls fully-intact, still-on-the-stem, that I purchased from Cotton Clouds, have anywhere from 6 to 8 seeds.  Pictured to the right is one section of the Cotton Clouds boll opened up.

While I did luck upon the following YouTube video [while doing some research for my recent Study of Cotton blog post], I wouldn't necessarily call it a new method; as evidenced from above.  Tough--- it is an excellent visual; and, the perfect use for those liddy biddy Flicker Brushes.

Let's Play!

It really is nothing more than a quick, somewhat jerky, rolling back-n-forth motion. Think--- rolling out pie crust. 
You need a surface with a little bit of grab to it. Maybe one day I'll find the right brick paver or block of wood. I actually tried it on just the placemat itself; but--- there wasn't enough friction, or enough texture to the fabric--- the right 'grab' to make it work. I use this ceramic tile to set my iron on to protect my worktable.
And--- I didn't have anything around here that even remotely resembled that steel pin. But--- at one point, I eventually gave thought to using one of the dowel pegs from my old Warping Board. You remember? The one I used to display my Holiday Long Locks?  
A few of the pegs have been loose for YEARS, and I had already pulled one free [sanded it down and polished it up] to use as a Nostepinne; for the last couple of years. Maybe one day I haves me a prettier one! (~: But, for now--- I pulled another loose peg, and--- Voila!  It works just fine!
Once I had all the elements--albeit reasonable substitutions--I was ready to roll.
Oh, and one more thing--- while that ceramic tile has a piece of felt glued to the bottom side, I cut a square of rubber shelf liner to help keep everything from slipping, because there is a certain amount of force being exerted in this process.  Which is why--with my back issues--I can do only small batches at a time.
As I alluded to, it is pretty much like rolling out pastry dough.  And, once you get yourself prepped and ready to go, you will have little piles of fluff and seeds in no time.
Let's Get Started
To get the idea, start with the dowel in between the sets of seeds. 
Roll gently, but, firmly.
You can both hear and feel the fiber tearing away from the seeds.
Once those seeds are free, turn the fiber around and roll out the remaining seeds.
It actually cleans off the fiber rather well.
Just loosely prep the fibers away from the seeds; exposing the pointy tips.
And then roll.
I use the palms of my hands.
Just Prep and Roll.
You will be able to determine your own feel for how to do it soon enough.
I found that I could work both sides. Meaning--- I roll forward to work the seeds to the front of the roller, and then roll in reverse, to work the seeds on the back side of the roller.
Just roll, roll, roll forward, and then roll, roll, roll backwards.
Roll, roll, roll forward, and then roll, roll, roll back--- until you have the seeds worked free.
Just give it a try, and have fun!
You are now ready to Card or Bow your fiber [or lint] into rolags.
I should add to this--just in case anyone else stumbles upon it--I had ONE seed crack during my recent ginning session. 
So, that makes me ask, "Did I do something wrong?" or "Was it simply not a viable seed?"
Now--- The Real Thing! 

What you see above, is the post that [though largely about half] I have always intended to publish.  It was only within the last couple of months that I found the following video.  Had this not been included in one my numerous Cotton Study search results, my post would have ended here.  So----

As promised----
Video Resources

Cotton Bolls Opening
Plucking Cotton Bolls
Picking Cotton by Hand
Then again---- this entire post is rendered MOOT, IF one decides to spin directly from the Seed! (~: Enjoy.
Spinning Cotton directly from the Seed
Spinning Cotton from the Seed
More Spinning from the Seed
While a tad late--- Meaning, I missed the point of being able to update during National Crochet Month. That said, I have a more pressing need to share this next update.

In the meantime?
Leave any questions you may have in the Comments.
Or Facebook Friends can Private Message me.

Follow me to my Facebook Community/Studio Page @ HeartSong Studio
Bye for now, and Blessings~
And Happy Weaving!

1 comment:

  1. This post is great. Very informative. Thanks. I really enjoyed it. I have a warping board no longer needed and now I have some ideas for it too.