So on Monday, I spent some time with Kathleen (BTW, Happy Birthday!), who graciously showed me how to use Susan's drum carder and then pretty much begged me to take it out of her house so she could concentrate on something other than creating beautiful fiber batts with it.
Since I like to be a good friend when I can, I allowed her DH to load the carder into my car and headed to work at the shop. When I got home, I hauled it into the house. "Hauled" is not really descriptive enough. That sucker is HEAVY! Anyway, I got it set up on my dining room table, pulled out some fiber, and the rest -- well, let's just say that before I knew it, the clock said 1 a.m. and I was surrounded by fluffy batts of fiber.
Yeah, I think it's a time machine in disguise. You turn it on, feed it fiber, and your reality slips away after the first rotation of the drums. At least that was my experience both Monday and Tuesday nights, so I'm sticking with my story!
So here's what I started with. This lovely stack of batts weighs in at about 5.25 ounces (152 grams). This fiber is stuff that I almost threw away because it was bits and pieces of "dragon waste" (superwash wool leftovers) purchased by the pound at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF) a couple years ago. I had already spun up the larger, more usable pieces, but had a bunch of miscellaneous cuts left over. Well, when those suckers went into the carder, along with some Angelina that Kathleen gifted me, they all decided to play nicely together and now there's enough fiber there to make some acceptable sock yarn. I'm glad I didn't throw out those leftovers!
With the dragon waste handled, I set my sights on the pound of Corriedale-Finn Ramboullet cross roving recently purchased from The Dizzy Sheep (the picture only shows part of it since I forgot to take one before I started carding). When it arrived, the color wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it would be light blue with fuchsia accents, but it was actually purple with fuchsia and bits of blue. Not terrible, just not what I expected. So what the heck, throw it in the carder and see what happens!
And here is the result. A big pile of fluffy, blended batts. The color changes aren't completely lost, but they're much more subtle. I should be able to spin this into some really nice tone-on-tone yarn, and quite a bit of it, too.
In looking at what I had run through the carder and the fiber in my stash, I realized that somehow I have turned into a collector of purple fiber. Don't know quite how that happened, since I prefer the blue tones more, but there you have it. I do have some reds and whites and a few assorted blue tones and natural colors in the stash, but geez, there's a lot of purple!
But I digress.
My next choice for the carder involved some superwash merino from Lone Star Arts in the Misty Mountain colorway. I don't remember where I purchased this, but it was a very pretty braid of four ounces in blue/purple/green. By the time I got to this, it was around midnight last night, so I didn't take a "before" picture. Trust me, it was a pretty braid.
I decided that this time I didn't want to really blend the colors, so I opened the braid and broke it into sections by color. Then I made batts that had stripes of each color in them. In between layers, I added a bit of white bamboo that I purchased at last year's OFFF. Bamboo fiber is very slick and very fine and very fly-away. It seemed to work fine meshed between layers of the merino. I didn't put very much in, probably could have used more, but that's okay 'cause I was experimenting. When I get around to spinning this, I'll be able to choose how I want the colors to blend. Should be fun!
I have to note here that I am totally spoiled by Stitchjones, Abstract Fiber and KnittedWit rovings. All three of these local vendors saturate their roving with color. You find few, if any, undyed wool as you spin or card their stuff. That was not the case with the Lone Star Arts roving. The color had only been applied on the surface and there was a lot of undyed fiber in the center. It was still quite pretty, but I'm glad I carded it. If I had spun it without carding, a lot of white pieces would have been showing. Carding blended the color with the undyed portions nicely. Maybe it's a design feature on the dyer's part, but I expected more color saturation than there was. Live and learn!
I still have plenty of fiber in my stash that I'd like to run through the carder. Not because I necessarily need to, but because it's fun! But I'll return it to Susan tonight so it can work it's witchcraft on someone else. Besides, with all those batts and the 8 ounces of singles that are partially plied on my wheel right now, I think I have enough to keep me busy for quite some time!