Sunday, August 24, 2008

To the Batt cave!

Hey all, on Friday I was a little restless so it was “to the Batt cave!” I got out my drum carder, hauled out a big pile of fiber and settled into a serious afternoon of batt making! Really it is so much fun to do this stuff.... I bought my lovely drum carder from a fellow PHG guild member on Distaff day 2006. I was thinking to my self- “Self what have you done?! That was $350 that could have gone to your holiday credit card bill?!” but Self never listens to me if it means passing up a cooooweeelll fiber related item. So I brought it home and smuggled it into the studio before Mr. M saw it. That was not easy as it weighs like a gazillion pounds. Don’t ask me where I hid it....

With my lovely drum carder, I can make some great batts. Just in case you are not familiar with the term, let me explain that a batt is how wool is blended either with itself or with other fibers in preparation for spinning. Spinners take the batt and create yarn out of it. You can also take batt and felt it but most of mine goes to spinning. I usually create 4 to 8 oz of batts before I want to change the color. Being a dyer allows me the rare joy of combining practically any colors under the sun. When my fiber cup runith over, I head for the batt cave!

Above is a picture of some of the fibers that I could choose from. On the table are wools, mohair, silks and nylon fire star in various colors. In the background is my drum carder with a batt in the in tray. Next you can see a fibers eye view of the fiber going into the drum carder...OH NO MR DRUM CARDER PLEASE DON’T EAT ME !!! (ok gale have a sick sense of humor)

The next picture is of a particularly wonderful combo of fibers I put together. Starting from the left there is a soft merino grey wool, a sapphire blue nylon fire star, a multicolored tussah silk and then a little sapphire blue mohair.. And then the final product of a grey blend with shadows of green and that wonderful sapphire blue....YUMMY.... I named this one “Misty”

There are no hard and fast rules to drum carding but here are a couple of insights that a novice might find helpful-
The more you blend, the more blended your fiber- I like to send my fibers through the Drum carder only once or twice as I am interested in keeping the yarn chunky and full of texture. You can clearly see the silk and nylon against the wool. If you Card it more, your fiber mixture becomes more and more blended and your yarn is a finer mix. This is a spinner’s personal preference.

Some fibers are harder to blend then others- I find bombyx silk and mohair to be very resistant to blending. I often have to work longer with these fibers.

Don’t put too much fiber in at one time. If you are finding the cranking difficult, back off the amount of fiber in the tray. Your drum carder will thank you.

I really enjoyed my batt day! Next time I do it, I’ll try to include more before and after pictures. I just got so excited that I didn’t spot and take too many shots. Soooooorrrrryyyyy my bad. GALE


sdealfitzgerald said...

I love the pic with the waiting fibers...what great great colors!

I'm so glad I came back to the guild, and got to meet you. Now, guild day has become one of my "art days", because I get to see what people like you are doing.

Eve said...

Love the pile of fibers waiting to get blended in the first photo. They look so gorgeous.

JumpSheep said...

Yay! Gale has a blog! (I was your first customer at MSWF ;). Let me know if you want to share and split cost of a space next time. :) I make bumps so I'm not in the way of your batts and rovings.