Simply Batty!

January 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm 5 comments

Okay, I can’t resist a bad pun with that post title…  The subject today is batts, and making them on a drum carder.  The carder lines the fibers up roughly parallel in a very fluffy rectangular chunk which can then be spun into yarn or used in felting.  But I’ll say more about using batts another time — for now, I’m making them!

Start with fiber.  Here’s some wool I dyed in shades of blue and green and a bit of black, white tencel, blue and green nylon glitz:

sargassofiberI decided to add some rayon thrums, so I cut those up into 4-5 inch long sections (comparable to the staple length of the other fibers – long enough to stay in the yarn, and short enough not to wrap completely around the carder drums)

sargassothrumsI take everything and tease the fibers open and mix it up by hand:sargassofiberthums

Then I send it through the drum carder a handful at a time, adding fiber gradually until the carder teeth are full and the first set of teeth (the big spikey ones) aren’t adding fiber to the bigger drum.  My carder is a Strauch Petit with a brush attachment that helps finer and novelty fibers card smoothly. 

sargassocarding I take off the batt from this first pass through the carder, flip it over and send it through a second time for a more complete and smooth blending job:sargassosecond

I could send it through additional times if I wanted the fibers thoroughly blended and more homogeneous, but I’m going to stop after two passes because I like the variations in color and fiber that I have at this point:


The batts from my carder aren’t very big, so what you see  above is a stack of about 5-6 batts.  Here’s a closer picture of the carded fiber:


Excited by these results, I kept on carding.  Here’s another one, starting with a pile of wool with more tencel and nylon and some thrums:


This mix looked like it could use a bit more sparkle, so I cut up some lurex strands to add to the mix:



This one went through the carder twice too, and created a batt with a nice blend of color with a healthy dash of bling from the lurex:



So there are two examples — I’ve been going ‘batty’ the last week or so carding up all kinds of fun and interesting blends.  I’m about to add carded batts as a product line in my etsy shop, so if you’re drooling over either of these, well, keep an eye out, they’ll soon be listed for sale!  I’ve named the first one “Sargasso” and the second one “Fathom”. Here are uncarded/finished batt pictures of another blend I’m calling “Iris”



Now, the next order of business is to spin up some of these to show the yarns that can be made from blended batts!  Stay tuned…


Entry filed under: HANDSPINNING, OTHER FIBER FUN, SHOP NEWS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Barbara  |  January 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Wow! those are gorgeous. I can’t wait to see some of that yummy stuff spun up.


  • 2. AnneMarie Walter  |  January 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Beautiful batts! You are inspiring me to spend a bit of time with my carder this weekend!

  • 3. amy  |  January 23, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Beautiful color combinations!!!!

  • 4. tokyStooria  |  February 9, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Hi, cool site, good writing 😉

  • 5. Laurie  |  March 22, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I am shopping for a drum roller…I just do a bit of needle felting and I don’t think I need anything bigger then the petite. Laurie


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