Monday, February 16, 2009

Did She Say SIDEWAYS?????

So if you haven't read or heard about the Yarn Harlot's post and have no idea what I'm talking about ... go here first. Then come back and see me. :)

So I've always fed my fiber into the drum carder tip first. In thinking back, I'm not exactly sure why but I do know I've thought about feeding it in sideways. It's just that when I thought about it I was sure it would make a big tangled mess. Oh boy how wrong was I!?!?!? A sideways fed batt is a beautifully wonderful thing indeed. It's so lofty and squishy and yummy!

See anything different about these two batts? The longer skinnier batt was created with the fiber being sent into the drum carder tip first. The shorter loftier looking batt was created with the fiber sent in sideways. Both batts are the same amount of the same fiber. They were both carded by the same person (that's me) on the exact same drum carder. Interesting, no? It makes total sense if you think about it though. I could get all scientific here (and don't think I haven't thought about it) with diagrams and all but I'll spare you that for now. I can tell you that I have spun both types of batts and I am amazed at how much more pleasant the sideways batt is to spin. It makes a very lofty woolen type yarn. Look for more on this in the shop.

One more thing to note here, this applies more to people (like myself) that card already processed fiber. I tend to use roving/top/sliver because it is easy for me to deal with handling and dyeing it. I've spun some batts from fiber artists that start with raw fleece and their batts tend to resemble my sideways fed batts due to the nature of the fiber being processed commercially versus being processed by hand. Also, feeding processed fiber sideways is essentially creating a woolen preparation, meaning the fibers are not all lined up parallel to each other. Those of you that prefer to spin top (fibers are lined up parallel) over a batt or true roving may not like this preparation as much. Either way, it's definitely something to try out so you know which way you prefer.

I'm creating listings that contain one 1-1/8 ounce batt of each type. It's not a big amount of fiber, just more of an experiment you can try out without making much of an investment. If you are interested in this experiment and want a certain type, color or amount of fiber ... please email me ( and I'll let you know what I have available.


merrie alynn said...

I've been reading about this and it's quite interesting. I tend to use my drumcarder for raw fleece. I heard that you're supposed to go sideways with that, too, but I haven't been brave enough to try it yet.

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