Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blending fibers with carders

Episode 34 of the YST podcast is posted and is available here or at ITunes by searching for Yarnspinners Tales. In this podcast I talk about what I've been doing a lot of lately, carding fibers for blending. I usually use a drum carder, but in the podcast I talk about both hand cards and the drum carder, comparing some of the pros and cons of each. The first section is very good for anyone that is not familiar with carding, as I cover many of the basics. The second section goes into more details about actually blending, either different fibers or different colors.

Early this spring in a dire need for color, I dyed white Maine Island washed fleece a yellow and orange, in two tones, deep and light. I had done just a sample batt of the dyed fiber and had decided to go ahead and do all the carding as a basic yellow with highlights of orange in the batts. And since these color contrast so well, I decided to use them as the example for carding in the podcast.

Most of the batts look like this:

The difference of when more orange is showing is often just a factor of how the batt is rolled. It could look yellow on one side and more orange on the other. I admit I did not really follow any set ratio for the colors, I was just adding orange to the batts as I thought they needed it. I wanted my yarn to spin with as much variation as possible.

I ended up with a lot of orange left over, and in a snap judgement from a dive into the fiber stash, I thought the orange might look interesting with this left over bit of brown shetland fiber.
It ended up looking way more 'halloween' than it shows in this photo!
Both fibers were very nubby. The Maine Island was that way to start, and the shetland was waste from combing. Although the shetland is much softer than the other fiber, I doubt I will use this in anything but a felted item, probably a purse. I plan to spin all of the batts and then see is I can come up with a striping felted purse pattern.
I had set aside some straight yellow and orange fiber to spin as a sample, and after seeing the purity of the color, I wish I had saved more!

But the carding is done now, and the yarn is spinning up to look like this:

I think the knitting is going to be very nice and tweedy, but in a very bright way.
I also discuss using the carders for just blending fibers, although in many ways the basics of blending are the same, whether you are mixing colors or fibers. Anyone who has a carder and has played with blends knows the possibilities are endless, and that you could give a room full of spinners the same colors to blend and have as many varieties of batts as you have spinners. That is what is so wonderful about the process, each is truly a work of originality.

1 comment:

Jody said...

I just bought a Fancicard this April and have been using it to make natural coloured alpaca blends. It's very addicting (just like chocolate) but without the calories!