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Going Batty

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I love colour. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I wear wildly coloured and patterned socks. I paint my walls in shades considered somewhat daring, including lipstick red. The standard uniform of black with black seems, well, boring. So when one of my favourite fibre sources started selling bags of randomly assorted bits, I just had to pick up some. I didn’t know what exactly I was going to do with these colourful bits and bobs, but I knew the answer would eventually come to me.

Just look at all that colour!

After dumping out the contents of four bags, totalling over a pound of fibre, I started doing a little organization. Mostly to see how many duplicates there were. Then out came the drum carder and I began to play! This, my friends, is a drum carder:

Spike, the batt maker

You place lengths of fibre on the infeed tray (at the bottom of the photo), turn the handle, and the fibre is combed into a thin sheet which is wrapped around the large cylinder. Each successive bit is layered on top of the last. This presents an amazing way to blend colour and texture, either in layers or, by running it through several times, as a thoroughly blended mass. It’s like painting, but without the mixing! Here is a small sampling of the batts I made.

Pretty, aren’t they? Almost like candy, only fluffier.

Look! Each side is different!

So what do you do with these batts, you ask? Why, you spin them! Naturally there are as many ways to spin a batt as there are spinners. This is what I did. I tore a small section off of the batt lengthwise, going almost the full length of the batt, then started it from the other end. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Maybe a photo will make it clearer.

"Z" StrippingThis method of tearing the batt, “Z stripping” will make one long strip of fibre which can then be pre-drafted to about the thickness of one’s thumb. Then it is spun.

The blending of the colours made spinning compelling – I just had to see what would happen next. They were spun with an eye towards compatible colour combinations, but nothing too exacting. Then I randomly grabbed bobbins and plied. The result was five skeins of lovely, squishy yarn in a perfect weight for a cozy winter pullover. I should have plenty….there is just over 1000 yards here.

I’m thinking a raglan with a v-neck might be nice. Something simple, to allow the heathered colours to shine. What do you think?

About sandyjager

When my husband was transferred by the Canadian Forces to Budapest, Hungary, in the summer of 2011, life as I knew it changed. None of my previous experiences prepared me for how different life was going to be. Fortunately, my inability to tolerate boredom means that I have lots of things to keep me busy - knitting, spinning, sewing, cooking, fitness and art. I will be sharing my latest exploits here, so stay tuned!

8 responses »

  1. Gorgeous! That’s what I think.

  2. I think that you are amazing!!!

  3. Stunning!! I think a raglan sweater sounds perfect.

  4. Gorgeous! I am totally in awe of you. The batts are so cute I almost wouldn’t want to spin them.

  5. Now that I see a picture of all the skeins laid out like that, I think you should do something like a gradients sock with those for your raglan sweater. Basically you knit with one until it’s almost gone and then alternate with the next for a few rows and then switch to the new one. If you did it in the round, I think the effect would be quite striking! You’d have to measure out some to do the sleeves in the same basic pattern of gradients. I would probably be a PITA, but it would be *stunning*.


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