It’s been a busy past few months for Alabama Chanin. Shortly after our cotton picking party and field day came our biggest Black Friday sale, then the holidays, our Garage Sale, Craftsy launch, travels to Los Angeles, the Texas Playboys visit to Florence, and much more in between. All the while, we’ve been making headway with our Alabama cotton project.
Almost a year after we planted our cotton seed in the ground, we would like to share another update about our special crop. We are certain many of you – especially those who helped in the field – will be interested in its progress.
Friends, family, and members of the community returned for our second cotton harvest in November, as did Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q (with their smoker in tow), who brought over 100 employees from their stores – some from as far away as Colorado. We picked, ate, and enjoyed the sense of community that was shown in the cotton field. Thank you again to everyone involved.
We worked all day to fill the trailer with as much cotton we could hand pick from the 6.9 acres. The second harvest was combined with cotton from our first picking party; Jimmy transported the cotton to a local gin in Florence, where it became the last ginned cotton of the season for Scruggs & Vaden Gin. All of the hard, hand-picked work proudly produced two bales of cotton totaling 746 lbs (496 lbs from the upper field variety and 250 lbs from the lower field variety). There is no doubt these are the most loved bales of cotton to ever come into being.
The gin sends a sample of every bale it produces to a classing office where the cotton fiber is tested for grade, quality, and strength. This is done to assure a good crop and help farmers set a market price to sell their cotton. The results of this testing showed that our cotton is of good staple length and quality to be spun into yarn. For lower quality fiber, the cotton is often used in products such as batting, stuffing, or insulation.
We sent the cotton to a spinner in North Carolina, where it is currently next in line to be spun into yarn. What’s next? We look forward to seeing how much yarn will be produced, and then plan on knitting into a fabric similar to our cotton jersey. Look for another update once our cotton is spun.
Thank you again to everyone for their encouragement, support, and help throughout our journey.
All of us @ Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid
P.S.: Thanks to Rinne Allen for the beautiful photos of picking party.
It’s been great to watch this project in action. Congratulations! I can’t wait to see Alabama Chanin’s very own home-grown jersey.
Thank you for the update! I was listening to the ThreadCult podcast last week and the quality of organic cotton was discussed. I thought of your cotton crop and was hoping to hear that the it would indeed make it to fabric grade. Congrats!