My Cotton Crop is In…Indiana

That’s right,
There was a cotton crop growing on the side of my home in Northern Indiana this summer. I planted some seeds in my kitchen this past February and 17 plants survived. I transplanted them outside in June and Eureka! I’ve got 1.75oz brown and 2.75oz white. Never mind the small yield, I grew some cotton ya’ll!! Now I have to get it carded up and ready to spin. I’m not sure what I’m going to make yet. We’ll just have to see.

First cotton crop grown in northern Indiana

First cotton crop grown in northern Indiana

101_0688

white cotton boll and brown cotton boll

So how did this all begin?

I bought some cotton roving about 2 years ago and found it rather finicky to spin. I kept at it. I would spin mostly sliver in the colored cotton because I thought it was cool. I started to crochet the cotton handspun in the round and by the time I felt like I’d gotten the hang of it I had made an eclectic looking throw. The throw shows my progression from the overspun recycled blue jean cotton to the thick, lumpy frustration skein to finally my consistent, I’m sooo In Love with you Cotton, lace weight yarn.

Crochet throw made from various colors of handspun cotton

Crochet throw made from various colors of handspun cotton

…And I’m growing cotton because

Once upon a time, I visited Island Weaver shop in Winona Indiana and was thrilled to pieces when I discovered they had 2 cotton plants with cotton bolls attached growing outside. The owner gave me a boll. The hand picked and processed fiber was much easier to spin than sliver. It is much like cashmere or camel down. I got 21 seeds from that one boll.

handspun single boll of brown cotton and 21 skeins. Background, grandma Arelia's embroidered  wall hanging.

handspun single boll of brown cotton and 21 seeds. Background, grandma Arelia’s embroidered wall hanging.

The stats:1 brown cotton boll 26 seeds 12.83 yards 32 WPI 2 Plys I used the yarn to crochet a rose

The stats:1 brown cotton boll
26 seeds
12.83 yards
32 WPI 2 Plys
I used the yarn to crochet a rose

Single boll yields a 2 ply skein about the size of a candy cane

Single boll yields a 2 ply skein about the size of a candy cane

 

crocheted rose from 1st cotton boll

crocheted rose from 1st cotton boll

I wanted more so I searched out a supplier for handpicked white cotton and ordered a (very expensive) pound to spin up. More seeds. So I decided to plant some seeds and see what happens. They grew.

My first cotton plant growing in the kitchen..who needs the table and chairs anyway:-)

My first cotton plants growing in the kitchen..because who needs the table and chairs anyway:-)

The End

What I learned: Aphids attack cotton plants in June. They thrive even with neglect and aphid attacks. You can harvest the bolls before they open if you live some place where the snow shows up before they open in November. Just open them up manually and let them dry out.

Overall thoughts: Happy, will plant again.

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