As with my previous experience with the slippery warp, this is another learning experience in the world of handling fiber.
Recently my friend Angelita Abad, an Ecuadorean cotton spinner from Tumianuma about 30 minutes from here, brought me some of her home-grown, hand-spun cotton fiber to sell. It is so wonderful to work with real cotton thread straight from the plant so to speak. It is really beautiful thread with many natural tones intermixed. Sometimes I even find a few long black hairs in the thread but I leave them there which I guess serves as a kind of DNA signature for the future.
The heads of cotton are so beautiful to look at. I can't resist buying all of it. But I'm learning how to evaluate the thread tension. When it is spun too tight, it folds back on itself and becomes a constant pain to manage.
I didn't look closely at the most of the recent heads that i bought and later found out that there are very tightly spun.
So I had to look up all the ways to relax overspun thread. It is very tedious.
But one option is to ply it to make it more manageable. I don't own a spinning wheel (yet) but I realized that the Navajo Spindle (that I got from my friend Cynthia who is now traveling the world) could be used for plying.
So I learned a few things about Navajo Spinning on YouTube and will leave the links to the most useful videos below.
Here is the Navajo Spindle surrounded by cotton heads, cotton cakes and sample scarves. You can't really see its height but it is 32" (81cm) tall.
I"m happy to report that I was able to get the rhythm of rolling the shaft down the side of my thigh to make it spin.
My first plyed thread is irregular in tension but I get the gist and can get better at it considering that almost all of the thread from Angelita was overwound!
Links to YouTube videos about the Navajo Spindle:
This is a good explanation of how it works and what it means 'to spin off the point'.
This fellow does a good job of explaining the history and technique of the Navajo / Southwest Spindle.
This is a pretty video to watch and it has some explanation.