January 13, 2009

Drummy Carder, you're the one!

Batts of Afternoon Delight!

I don't believe I ever mentioned I got a drum carder. It was quite a while ago, back in summer. I've been playing with it ever since, experimenting, waffling between Rock and Suck on a seemingly random basis. Those things have quite a learning curve.

The drum carder is deceptive, in a way. Anyone can throw some fiber in the feed tray and turn the crank. But being able to control your results takes a lotta lotta practice. I've wondered before why the batts for sale on Etsy are so often random, chunky, carnival spasms of incompatible fibers; does everyone but me love to spin yarn you can't use for anything but elongated-stitch skinny-scarves that will never ever touch water? But after cranking away for a few months, I think I understand: 'kitchen sink' batts are easy to make. Smooth, heathered sock blends, which is what I most love to spin, are hard.

It takes more than knowlege; no one can tell you how to do it. You have to get a feel for it, teach your hands, make mistakes and learn from them. Teach your eyes, know what you're seeing and what it means. You have to spin your mistakes, spin your successes... spin a batt that's half-mistake and half-success, and just about burst into tears because you love the good part so much but it's inextricably attached to the yucky part.

I think I've put about a hundred bucks of fiber through that carder since my birthday, and I'm just finally starting to trust that the batt I plan is the batt I'll get. But if I've made it sound frustrating -- well, okay, sometimes it was. But so worth it. Because being able to make exactly the blend I want, fibers and colors distributed just so, is like the ultimate spinning dream. Softness and color streaking off the drum in a sheet of pure joy... mmmmm. It's like painting with hugs.

Behold a few of my latest hug-paintings, then! These are the ones I put up in my shop; hopefully I'll soon remember to take pics of the cinnamon heathered alpaca/wool/merino I made for myself, but the shop ones are pretty good. Only reason I'm selling them is because I haven't yet learned to spin in my sleep.

1 comment:

Donna said...

So glad to know that you're alive and well, carding spinning knitting! Now I'm running right over to your etsy shop....