Last time I talked about the process of making a fiber 'sandwich' on your drumcarder, as published in Yarnmaker magazine back in 2012. This week we discuss a few odds and ends. And I apologize for the lack of pictures; there's a whole disc full of them and at least four that accompanied this section. However, the disc seems to be corrupt and I can't open anything including the photos from the first two sections. :(
If you are working with large amounts that need to be blended uniformly, you’ll need a bit more space, more time and a way to keep helpful pets out of the carding area (yes, I have a curious cat). Weigh, divide and prepare all your fibers. At this point, you should know how many total batts you’ll be making based on the total weight of your fiber and the amount your carder will hold. Remember that number. Let’s say I need to make 16 batts, each weighing 28 grams. Once I’ve made the first layered batt, I divide it into 16 strips and each strip is the beginning of a new pile. The second layered batt is also pulled into 16 strips and added to the 16 piles. Continue in this manner until you have 16 piles, each with a strip of fiber from the 16 layered batts. If there were any discrepancies in the amount of fiber in the layered batts (angelina and the fine exotic fibers are difficult to weigh because they are feather-light), this process should distribute the fibers more evenly. You now attenuate and recard the 16 piles into 16 new batts. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to achieve the blend you want.
Finally, before you run off to play with your new fiber, CLEAN YOUR DRUMCARDER. Trust me, if you don’t do it now you WILL forget. And the next time you use it, those leftover fibers on the drums will adhere to your next batt. They will be unsightly, annoying and frustrating--if not impossible--to remove from the new batt. Follow the recommendations of your drumcarder manufacturer for cleaning. Mine came with a flicker that I use to clean the large drum; my small drum rarely needs a cleaning. Simply hold the flicker against the drum with the wires of the card cloth in the same direction and rotate the drum slowly. Repeat across the entire surface until the drum is clean. In a pinch I’ve also used a single hand card or a stiff scrub brush to clean the drum(s).
Your explorations in blending will become something to share with your spinning friends. You could form a study group within your guild to see what blends the members will come up with and how each person will spin and use the same blend. Spinning should always be fun, and exploring different fibers and blends is an endless journey.