An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Monday, March 3

The Great Batt Experiment 2014 - The Plan

March 03, 2014 Posted by Vaire ,

A while ago I bought this batt. Isn't it gorgeous? The oranges peeking out between the black layers are so pretty. This being my first drum-carded batt I didn't know how to actually spin it up so that the orange would still peek out between the black in the yarn. I wanted flecks of orange on the black background in the final knit item.

Burning Embers, batt by Vampy

It's been years of indecision, until I got this idea: I shall buy a batt that has similar features and try out all the ways one can spin a batt and see what happens. So, I went on Etsy and found a batt that had red and black layers that were similar enough to my gorgeous batt.

I'd found seven ways to prep a batt for spinning, and this one looked very skinny in the pictures, so I bought two. Then they arrived and the package was huge! Turns out, the batts were folded in half lengthwise on the seller's photos and I ordered twice the amount I needed. Oops!


Here they are, airing out in the bathroom. They had this smell about them that only things from a heavy smoker's home have. It was a bit of a surprise, but nothing a little airing won't take care of. Bathroom has the best ventilation, and a convenient rod, so there they'll hang until they smell no more.

The plan is to take the red and black batt and divide it into seven sections, then prepare each section for spinning in some way. So far, there is no plan for the blue and black batt, but I'm sure, I'll think of something. These are the seven ways I've collected from the Internet:

1. Strips
Tear the batt into strips lengthways.
2. Z-stripped
Tear the batt into strips lengthways, but leave them connected, and attenuate the resulting long strip into roving.
3. Attenuated lengthways
Attenuate the whole batt lengthways into one long roving with fibres parallel to the length.
4. From the fold
Tear the batt into small sections and spin them from the fold over the finger.
5. Fauxlags*
Tear the batt into small sections and roll them into fauxlags.
6. Attenuate widthwise
Roll the whole batt widthwise and attenuate into a long strip of roving with fibres randomly aligned.
7. Nothing
Spin across the top from one side to another.

There are more things one can do with a batt — re-process either by combing or carding, or separate the layers and spin them one by one. I did not want to try those because my goal was to preserve the colour distribution and effect, not to re-process. None of the methods listed above alter the batt structure itself, they only alter the size of the chunks of fibre to be spun, and the alignment of the fibres in the preparations. But most importantly, they should alter the distribution of different colours without blending them too much, resulting in different effects in the yarn.

Some of these options I have not tried before, so this will also be a spinning learning experiment for me. Some of these preparations should result in semi-worsted (1, 2, 3, and 7), some should result in semi-woollen (4, 5, and 6) yarn. We'll see if my predictions were right when I get to the end of this experiment. It will be interesting to see how different the results options 1-3 are going to be, and if they are going to be any different at all with this batt.

Each of the seven sections I intend to spin into 1-ply, 2-ply, and 3-ply yarn, then knit swatches with each to see how the colours behave at each stage. Making sure that I have 6 singles from each section will be easier with some methods, and more tricky with others. Option 1 is the easiest — I just need to tear it into 6 strips. Option 7 I'm saving to last because it will probably involve weighing and maths and precision. I'll start with the methods that I'm more familiar with and then proceed down the list.

* Fauxlags are rolled chunks of fibre like rolags, but the fibres are more ordered than the true rolags from hand carding.