Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unique Technique - Carding 100% fleece batts

I LOVE to card batts. I card smooth batts, chunky batts, EXTRA chunky batts, sparkly batts, fleecy batts, and more. I just LOVE playing with fluff! Here's my 1st little tutorial on how I card a 100% fleecy batt. Here I am carding some Boarder Leister X Corriedale fiber from HubbardHandspun on etsy. I purchased this fiber from Elizabeth already washed and dyed and it is simply yummy! (As is all of the fiber I've gotten from her, washed or raw.)

I am not going for a smooth card, but rather an organic "fleecy" look to the batt that will spin up relatively smooth but still have some natural texture. The first step I take is evaluating the fiber. As you can see this fiber is very clear of any VM, and has gorgeous luster and a nice wavy crimp. It is ready to card!

Here is my #1 drum carder, a Louet Classic. I LOVE this drum carder and have had lots of luck carding everything I've thrown at her. She's definitely my work horse and I wouldn't trade her for anything!

As you can see I have started loading the main drum already. I prefer to card ALL fibers directly onto the main drum, bypassing the licker-in completely. I like the control I have carding this way because I can place fibers exactly where I want them to end up in the batt.

For "fleecy batts" I apply the fiber using 2 methods. The first, as you can see here, will create smoother portions in the batt. This fiber has been slightly fanned out by hand only.

When applying the fiber to the drum I hold it with my thumb and fingers perpendicular to the rotation of the drum. I hold the lock tips out allowing for the drum to pick up small amounts of the fiber as I crank it.

Now I am going to add some "textured" spots to the batt. This fleece is not going to be carded as smoothly as the other. First notice that the fiber I am about to apply is NOT teased out at all.

When applying the fleece for texture I hold it differently and allow it to go on to the drum in a chunkier manner. In this step I point my thumb towards the drum and when the fiber takes to it I almost pressure it right onto the drum as quickly as possible.

When all the fleece is loaded it is time to remove the batt!

Here is a picture of the bottom (drum side down) side of the batt on my rolling table.

Here's the batt all rolled up and finished!

This particular batt is part of a set of 3 varying blue tones for a color gradient yarn. Here are the 2 batts I have done so far along with the starting fiber for the 3rd.

Like I previously said I am NOT conventional in some of my methods. Some people may gasp at my approach, but please remember I am just trying to share how I do things. "Right or Wrong" it's how I enjoy doing it and the results make me happy. So to those that think I'm "wrong," please leave. lol No, no, no, I'm just kidding, but please do respect that it's just a different approach. Next time you're at your carder give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised with your results too!

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Private Lessons

If you are local to the Muskegon, MI area and in need of Spinning, Weaving, Felting, or Drum Carding instruction I would be more than happy to help!

Private lessons are $30 per hour, with a 2 hour minimum (Can be split into 2 sessions if you prefer.) Email me to work out the details, JBenedictScott@aol.com

I specialize in spinning Bulky Singles, 2-plies, Navajo/Chain Plied, and Corespun yarns. I also can share my knowledge on needle felting, wet felting, nuno felting or weaving with a rigid heddle loom. My main area of expertise however is in fiber blending and drum carding. Please visit my etsy shop for examples of my work.

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