Batting 1000

~”Combing the unspun fibers to lie parallel results in a strong, hard thread. Carding, on the other hand, makes the fiber lie all which way–just like teasing one’s hair–and gives a soft, fluffy thread like our knitting yarn. Most wool yarn now available is of this latter sort, but the process wasn’t invented till the Middle Ages.” ~Elizabeth Wayland Barber,ย Women’s Work.

Fun times in spinning class. First, I was late to class and forgot the camera and, then, my phone was totally dead so I wasn’t able to take playtime pictures.

There was a demo using a Clemes and Clemes blending board.ย The blending board looks like as if a drum carder cloth has been nailed to flat board. The carding size is 11″ x 11″. The board is “loaded” by adding small bits of, in our case, roving. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a brush which would have helped immensely. Also, the board tended to “walk” on the table so a rubber mat would have been nice. Look at the great demo of how to use a blending board.

My turn at the blending board. I had noticed that people ahead of me had a hard time slipping the rolag off of the stick, so I used a napkin to “sand” it. Mine came off a lot easier. If you purchase a blending board, I recommend using a light grain sanding and wax on the stick. Without the brush, I don’t think any of ours blended as well as they could have. This is my result:

While patiently awaiting my turn at the blending board, I used the picker on the dyed bits of wool from last week. The teacher thinks it might be Columbia. Whatever it is, another student and I comment on how rough and “chemically” the dyed fiber felt. The fiber was rinsed very well, until the water ran very clear, so if there is any dye residue it is miniscule. We both tried to hand pick the fiber before using the picker and found that there were quite a few second cuts in the fiber. We’ll see how well this fiber spins since I can still see quite a few neps. Look how “fluffy” the fiber becomes after going through the picker. The flat 1″ fiber has become a 10″ pile of post-picker fluff! I’m truly batting 1000.

And, the piece de resistance for the day, using the drum carder to make batts. Oh what fun I had! I swear, it’s a good thing I don’t have one or I’d want to play with it all day. One of the other students, Shana, who has different breeds of ย sheep and has spun forever, brought in a plastic bin full of fiber bits and pieces for all of us to use. I made two 0.5 oz batts and if time hadn’t run out would have made more. To roll a batt: fold into thirds first and then roll up. They are so pretty that I hate to “ruin” them by spinning, but, at the same time, I’m so anxious to see how they’ll look spun.

Wool, Mohair, Silk blend

Wools and Firestar Blend

Lovely Batts

The last pieces of classroom equipment I need to learn how to use are the comb and diz to make parallel fibers.


7 thoughts on “Batting 1000

  1. I used to do something like the blending board rolags except I used my hand carders. I would sit with a huge tray of goodies (fiber bits like wool, mohair, silk noils — all different colours) and start layering bits of them on a hand carder. Then I’d take the other hand carder and comb through a little to mix it all up and then transfer the whole bit to sit on top of the second hand carder to make it easier to roll into a rolag. Mine were rough rolags — no sticks involved. I’d try to use roughly the same amounts of fiber for each rolag. I got some amazing yarn from this. I don’t have the samples I made any more but I still have the fiber selection! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hear my stash calling! I so want to try combing — haven’t sprung for wool combs yet. Christmas?


    • Q – I have put hand cards on my Christmas list. The teacher has demonstrated hand carding in class, but with a drum carder I’ve been too lazy to try hand carding. We’re heading off to Austin and I hear they have a fabulously, large fiber shop. Maybe I’ll be treated to a birthday present? (It’s at the end of November). this spinning “thing” is really expensive!! ๐Ÿ˜Ž But so addictive! I can hear your fibers calling you from here. ๐Ÿ˜Ž


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