Finding the “right” end of cotton sliver

For those of you who spin cotton sliver, this is a simple method for finding the right end to spin from.  Usually I have just seen the tip that if your cotton drafts lumpy, turn it around and spin from the other end, because cotton has a “nap” to it, but this is a method I have come up with so that you don’t have to go that far. (I think this will work for other roving or top, but other roving and top tends to be a little better behaved than cotton).


Imagine your cotton is laid out like this (because it is, due to the nap in it):

cotton sliver graphic

 (I still haven’t quite figured out the pictures).  The arrow is the direction you want to draft the roving (with the end toward the spindle and the arrow pointing toward your hand if you are spinning on a charka).  If you notice, the fibers line up in a particular direction and your hand would be smoothing down the fibers.  If you are sensitive enough, you can actually feel this. 


Lay your sliver across your palm with one end toward your fingertips and the other end toward the heel of your hand.  Lightly stroke the fiber with your other hand lengthwise first one direction then the other.  The fiber should feel smoother when you stroke it one direction.  If going from your fingertips to the heel of your hand feels smother, you are golden, this is how you should hold your fiber.  If it feels smoother the other way, flip your fiber around.  You should now be able to spin from the right end of the fiber every time.




  1. CadyMay said,

    December 12, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

    this is a great tip, am going to go stroke some cotton now!

  2. Phyllis said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

    Thanks for that tip on finding the correct end to spin.
    I’m still in the early stages of learning how to spin on the Charkha.

  3. Carol Gray said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 6:02 am

    Thanks for this tip! Makes sense, and I think it will help me a lot. I’m not sure why this has not been suggested more often; I have always just heard the “if it doesn’t work, turn it around” method of spinning cotton roving.


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