Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random Batts

Random Batts
Originally uploaded by Project Pictures
Since my husband has been out of town for over a week now (he was back for one day, Friday, and then off again) I have been gifting myself some little bits of time. We are blessed to have two young women that live nearby that are able to watch my children from time to time. I asked one to come by for a couple of hours this afternoon. My daughter is in camp, and she joined us just as my son was finishing lunch. He was to go down for a nap at 1pm, and I'm told he did so. So I know she had a very easy time of it.

I did, too. I took myself, and some random bits of wool top, and the last of my green silk over to the Eugene Textile Center. This is a newer yarn store in Eugene, and it caters more to weavers and spinners than knitters, but there is obviously some overlap. ETC has a drum carder which they are willing to lend out for "drop ins" with a small fee of $10 per half-day of use.

I've been wanting to try to spin a batt, but these lovely confections are often pricey. And there's a good reason why. As much fun as it is to turn a batt, a drum carder is quite an expensive piece of equipment. And the creation of the batt itself is a fair amount of work. I'm sure you get better and faster at it with practice (I did even in the two-and-a-half hours I played with it) but there is still that investment of your time and expertise.

I set out to create the center batts that you see here. I wanted something reminiscent of the brilliant tropical waters you usually see advertised for Caribbean cruises and the like. I had a bunch of blue bits of wool top, but most had odd ends of other colors. That's what makes up the purple batt. There's a bit of brown, lots of shades of purple and just a little bit of blue in it. The four central batts are primarily the "ocean blue" bits, and green silk blended. And the three on the far end were the last piece of wool top I had, which was comprised of white, and sky blue, and the rest of the silk. They have considerably more silk in them than the other batts, which gives them the lovely green color.

I started spinning one of the last batts today. They run about 10g each. I wasn't sure quite how much you could load up onto the drum carder, so I played it safe. It was a lot of fun to spin. Very soft and fluffy. I split off strips and then broke those strips into 6" sections and folded them in half for spinning with a long-draw.

Right now I'm debating if I'll spin the three green into a 3-ply yarn, or if I'll alternate down the line with every-other batt going in order into two singles. Either way could be very interesting, but the 2ply done in this manner would give me a variegated yarn that slowly darkens from one end to the other. I think it would be a very striking effect.

In other news, I'm pretty excited about going to Sock Summit tomorrow. I think I have everything prepared to get my children over to our friends' for the day, and get myself to Portland. With any luck, we'll all have a blast!

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