Our guest artist today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool.
After several months of taking a hiatus from felting–due to a work project and family health issues–I was starving to get back into it.
Fortunately, Marilyn suggested a lesson in carding batts. I don’t own a carder and my experience with blending fibers has been minimal, that is, using my dog brushes to blend a few bits of wool roving. Last Friday, Marilyn came over with two carders: a Louet Junior with a very coarse cloth (40 tpi?), and a standard Brother with fine (120 tpi) cloth.
I felt more comfortable beginning with the Louet, and grabbed some neutrals to begin the carding process. I used these fibers with no particular plan for my first batt: Mystery fiber chunks and fibers, possibly some Finn hand-spun; hand-dyed vintage yarn (early 80s); small amount of Domestic 56s and Navajo churro–all in various neutral shades, mostly gray.
Then it was time to move on to the Brother for some finer carding. This time I went for color: Indigo-dyed Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, hand-dyed mulberry silk, white Tencel, green mystery fiber, possibly Corriedale. The machine was a bit more sensitive, and so the fibers needed to be fed more carefully onto the drum.
I tried the Brother once again, using slightly different fibers and colors: Hand-dyed Indigo Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, white Tencel, unknown white fiber (possibly cotton), and Milk protein. Marilyn suggested we make two passes through with the fibers.
Some things that surprised me about the carding experience: it took a lot of time and was more difficult than I imagined; the fibers don’t necessarily cooperate, in that bits get caught on the smaller drum; and finally, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan of what you want to make with the batts before you begin. This was an experience I really enjoyed and I have made a couple more batts with the Louet coarse carder, which Marilyn generously has loaned me. The neutrals below were passed through three times.
More mystery fibers in green and yellow.
Thanks Cathy for sharing your first experience with carding batts. Do you still have carder envy? Personally, I am happy to have the carders. They have come in handy more than once. I love making batts just for fun. I don’t always have a use for them and often give them away. Its always a creative learning experience!