I took a field trip today with a group of friends. We went to see Sally Fox’s cotton fields in the Capay Valley, northwest of here. Sally is well known in the fiber world for her work in developing natural-colored, long-staple, organically-grown cotton.
This is a field of Sally’s Buffalo cotton.
Sally told us that, although many farms welcome bees in to their crops, she isn’t as happy to have them, at least in the numbers that she has been seeing. Cotton is generally self-pollinating and that is important if you are trying to raise seed of pure varieties. In recent years there have been so many bees that they have been causing cross-pollination. Iif she grows more than one variety of cotton she can’t count on the seed crop being pure. This year she is growing only the buffalo cotton, a long staple cotton of a beautiful brown color.
Here is a boll before it opens.
Sally is wearing a long sleeve shirt made from her Buffalo cotton fiber.
This is cotton chenille made from another of Sally’s varieties. I think this one was called Palo Verde, but I don’t remember for sure. The chenille on the left is the natural color and after boiling (and addition of ammonia) it turned dark green. I knew that Sally’s natural colored cottons deepen with washing, but this color change is amazing.
I came home with a couple of cones. I’ll be planning some scarves I think.