Sunday, November 9, 2014

Getting back to spinning, with layered batts

Spinning a self striping yarn from
a layered batt
Wow, it's been 6 months but I'm back in my craft zone. So what was the first thing I did with my new and improved space? I got right to spinning. Well, almost... first I had to prep my fibers! And my prep of choice these days: a well carded batt. Why? I'm so glad you asked, because after years of spinning everything from pencil roving to freshly picked fibers, I can now appreciate a carded batt for the versatility and choice it provides me and the finished yarns I'm creating.
Firstly, by carding my own batts, I can combine fibers in any ratio I want with full control over the amount of incorporation: from fully incorporated for a homogenous blend, to minimally incorporated for a layered (or side-by-side) effect. It's a great way to take advantage of both your longer stapled fibers that may be less soft(ex. Jacob), as well as your short staple fibers that are incredibly soft (ex. Camel). It also provides an opportunity to add in whatever fixins you might have on hand: tencel, firestar, sari silk. Whether your creating a wild art batt, or a sophisticated luxury fiber blend, the batt wins!
Today, I'm going with a layered batt. This batt was inspired by colors I'm seeing in all the stores this season: camel, teal, and graphite. Just to add a little interest, I'm going to pull equal parts of each of the main colors for each layer from my stash, as well as a small amount of contrasting colors to pre-mix in each layer for a heathered look. I'll card each of the main colors separately, with the contrast colors and some extra soft alpaca fiber, at least 2 times. Once I have each layer sufficiently blended, I can begin my layered batt. This is a simple technique achieved by adding each layer of color to the drum evenly. When the batt is removed, the colors remain clear and distinct.
Now, I have a decision to make: how to spin. I can go a few different routes from here.

  1. If I want a homogenous blend of colors in my finished yarn, I can simply pull strips off the batt and spin all three colors together. 
  2. If I want a self striping yarn, I can divide my batt vertically into any number of equal parts, pull the color layers apart and spin them individually. Spin equal amounts to two spools if you want 2 ply.
  3. If I want fractal stripes,  I can divide my batt vertically into 2 equal parts, then divide one side into smaller equal parts then the other. For each side, pull the color layers apart and spin them individually. Spin each side to separate spools and then ply together.
I've chosen option 2. And here's what it looks like on the spool. You'll see the colors come apart pretty cleanly. This would look great plied with a light heathered grey... stay tuned ;D
I know a lot of you spinners out there are hooked on spinning from prepared top, but if you haven't already, I would definitely suggest giving carded batts a try
The pre-carded fibers for my batt.
This is what the batt looks like in the
carder. You can clearly see each
layer of color.
This is what a strip of the batt looks like,
and easily separates by color layer.

No comments:

Post a Comment