Guest Author - Laun Dunn
As we spinners go along doing what it is we do best, we often find ourselves lulled into a pattern. We buy roving, spin it into yarn and continue. So when we see a great fiber blend in a batt, it takes us out of our comfort zone to even consider spinning it. What is the easiest way to spin a fiber batt? There are a few answers to this dilemma.
The type of yarn you want to spin is a primary consideration. For a woolen yarn, roll the batt into one or several rolags. To do this, roll the batt perpendicular to the fiber direction. Spin the rolag from the rolled end. Depending upon the length and thickness of the batt, you may need to divide the batt before rolling it, and make it into several rolags. Just be sure to keep them a manageable size. Trying to spin from a giant rolag is an exercise in futility.
A worsted, or more exactly, a semi-worsted preparation is achieved in one of two ways. First, the batt can be separated into strips that can be spun in the same manner as roving. The other option is to roll the batt along itís length, keeping the fibers parallel to one another. The resulting roll can be pre-drafted into a sort of roving that is loose enough to permit the fibers to pass by one another so that they may be drawn into the drafting zone more easily.
Another consideration in deciding how best to spin from a batt is the color of the fibers, and determining how you want the finished yarn to look. Does that batt have spatterings of color throughout, or is it blocked into a striped pattern? Do you want your finished yarn to be tweeded with flecks of color, or variegated with longer repeats of color?
For a tweed look, or for a single color fiber batt, roll the batt crosswise, keeping the fibers parallel with one another. Pull it as though you are pre-drafting, but pull until it breaks in half. Stack the two halves again, and repeat until the fiber is blended to your satisfaction. This will blend the colors more thoroughly and result in a flecked or tweeded yarn.
To get striped or variegated yarn, separated the colors from within the batt and spin them in a repeated pattern. Just be sure to follow the same repeat on each bobbin that you intend to ply together to achieve a striped yarn.