Although Harry is perfect, the rest of the world generally needs a little tweaking to rival his flawless stature. It's rare that I spin a batt right out of the bag--I usually add or subtract something, especially if I have a specific project in mind.
Harry thought it might be instructional for me to show his faithful readers how I edit a batt. According to him, I don't have any faithful readers, which instigated a shouting match (MORONIC BIPED! HAIRY MIDGET OCTOPUS!, and so on). While we were hurling epithets at each other, Rambo kindly loaded the text and images into the blog and then proceeded to clean out the vegetable bin because nobody was paying any attention, and the lettuce was going to wilt soon, anyway.
Onwards to batts.
Let's take this lovely item from Lampyridae, euphoniously named Sarah Bejeweled. It's an eclectic mixture of milk, bfl, silk, soy, merino, alpaca, and sari silk. but is very smooth, if a bit mussy. Notice the colors after the greens are kinda folded under...you can't see them in this picture.
If you've ever fooled around with batts, you've probably discovered that most of them are layered, and it's easy to separate the layers by gently pulling them apart. The blue and purple are peeking out on the bottom layer in this image:
Here are two two layers, side by side.
Now to strip the batt into bite-sized pieces. I started on the left, coaxing each color transition into a little swathe.
I took a bit of the next color, pink, into the second strip, and a little more pink in the third one--mixing the colors this way makes for smoother transitions.
Sometimes, when pulling off a strip, the wrong color crawls over....
It's easy to just peel it off and put it back where it belongs.
Here's what the deconstructed batt looks like now.
The next step is to do a little drafting. Although the batt is smooth, it has a fair amount of fibery locks lying on the surface. When you try to spin it them in, the loose bits can fall down or become folded over, creating a snarl. If you're spinning thick yarn, this fluffiness isn't a big problem, but for fine spinning, it's better to try and incorporate the little rogues into the main wad of fiber. And because I will be spinning fairly fine on a supported spindle, I want to loosen up the fiber, as well. Both of these tasks are done simply by gently pulling sections of the strip like this:
And here's the first attenuated strip. Notice there's some white fiber that refused to play nicely with the rest of the strip. I just inserted a few twists to keep it from running away.
Here and there, I found some bits of fiber that didn't belong, as well as a few nepps that would simply make a blob while spinning. I just picked them off.
And we're almost finished. Notice the adorable cat toy...Laptop couldn't be with us today, due to a prior engagement, but she left a clownfish proxy for Harry's faithful readers to admire.
The transitions looks pretty good, but the sequence is a bit lacking in blues and purples. Dipping into my batt stash, I found colors that would work, and added a few extra strips.
To keep everything neat and tidy, I rolled up the strips, one after the other, into a squooshy ball...
And put it into a plastic bag. It's ready to go.
On another note, I report that over the course of the last few months, the occupants of the fleegle household endured three eye operations and two root canals, thus triggering our favorite floating holiday: Celebrate Something Random Day. To commemorate such occasions, we always have a cake, decorated especially for the occasion being celebrated. And so I present to you the Infamous Fleegle Eyeball and Teeth Cake of 2011. It was delicious!
And before you ask, Nancy, it's from the Country Bakery on 75 between Ingles and White County Jail. :)