Today I am studying cotton spinning and processing. I really like the video by Stephanie Gaustad, Spinning Cotton. She starts with the topic of processing cotton for spinning.
As she says wool and cotton are nowhere near alike. Cotton is so adhesive to itself that it almost drafts itself. The drafting and the adding twist are very separate tasks. They need to be broken down into two separate stages. Cotton is easily compressed so do not hold it tightly. Cotton wants to be spun thinly.
Cotton is a seed fiber. It is the fiber that covers the seed. There are two basic types of cotton seed, hairy and slick. Stephanie covers removing the seeds in her video. Roller gin - slick seeded cotton. Eli Whitney's cotton gin for hairy seeded cotton. Hairy seeded cotton was probably what you read about in your US history.
Willowing cotton is one way to process after de-seeding. You take two sticks and, use them to hold the cotton and shake it over a screen to remove the lint from the cotton.
Stephanie cards her cotton on cotton hand cards and rolls them into rolags or punis. Then these are spun long draw.
I also have another DVD on spinning cotton... When I watch it I will compare the techniques and update his blog page.