Homemade Fabric from Homegrown Cotton?

As soon as our Angora Rabbit produces enough fiber to make angora yarn, I'll start teaching myself how to spin.

Meanwhile, we're also learning about farming cotton - not a lot but enough to make fabric. Will plant next Spring, assuming we're at our new homestead by then. Anyway, at first I thought I'd combine half cotton with half angora, but from what I understand the resulting yarn frays and never becomes soft and fun again.

So... I've been looking online to figure out how to go from a cotton boll (ball with seeds and oil, plucked from the cotton plant) to weaving a simple fabric, and am at a loss. Do you first make yarn? Thread? Can you use a drop spindle for that? Is it possible to practice with the cosmetic cotton balls purchased at the store? Is there a cheap (inexpensive) table loom to make the fabric? How many cotton plants would be needed to make a yard of fabric? Would it be more cost effective to spin the cotton into yarn for crocheting, knitting and tapestry?

Our goal is to be very self-reliant... that's why all the questions. Can anyone point me to this info?


KMDuff said...

the book "Back to Basics" might help. that's all I've got. That and a mighty fine appreciation for the cotton gin.

Cotton Shedd said...

I have done this from the cotton on our farm and it is very labor and time intensive.
It takes 1 pound of cotton to make an adult shirt. Off the plant the seeds have to be removed, the lint has to be boiled to remove its natural waxy coating if it will be dyed, carded, spun on drop spindle or wheel and then the spun cotton can either be used as yarn or woven. I know of a fiber artist in Bisbee, AZ that could spin directly from a boll pulling out the seeds as she went - but it takes a bit of skill.
Best of luck.