Monday, July 11, 2011

Batt Editing

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 BIPEDHAIRY 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. :)

32 comments:

PenCraft said...

Love the dissection and reconstruction photos. I'm really looking forward to seeing what this becomes!

Sharripie said...

Excellent cake! I need to take something like that to my next party.

Delusional Knitter said...

Love the photos ... your posts are so chock full of great stuff! So, was Laptop's prior engagement arranged by you so that the batt wouldn't be disturbed while you were preparing it, or is this all coincidence???

Love the cake!!

JelliDonut said...

Any chance you'll do a high whorl spinning video? I just proofread a book on the subject. Would love to see it in action. I tried spinning once. I think I nearly decapitated an innocent bystander.

Caryn said...

Thank you for all your wisdom. Eventhough I spin with a wheel, your tips are wonderful!

Carolina said...

Love those colors on the batt.

bobbins said...

interesting process, and I can't wait to see the results!

Kitty Kitty said...

Hope the eye surgeries went well and you survived the root canals. The cake Is a total wonder!

My goodness the batts are lovely. So question, how do you plan to ply them to keep the colours so organized in your layout there? The batt is so much cooler separated all out like that.

yarnlot said...

This is not a customized but a fleeglelized batt! It reminded me of my crocheted Japanese wrap where I divided the Kureyon yarn to reassemble it in order to get a colour sequence. If I were into spinning I would follow your example.
Great blog post!
P.S. Mind yoúr teeth with the cake...

LittleBerry said...

ROFLOL at the cake!

Very interesting 'article' on what you do with your batts... thanks :o)

Annie said...

Brilliant cake (although at first glance I thought those 'gums' were sausages!). Looking forward to seeing the yarn that batt wants to be :D

Linda said...

Wonderful cake, and even better batt analysis. I really look forward to your posts, knowing there will be ideas to prod skills. Thank you so much!

Eve said...

I was reading away and like "oh this is neat, nice colour combinations I really like the green and blue and AAAAAA! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! EYEBALLSAAAAAAA!"

liveparadox said...

As a fledgling spinner, I find posts like these extremely useful, thanks! :)

Great cake, btw.

Diana Troldahl said...

I bet the decorator enjoyed making that cake! Thanks for the prep lesson, I am a kindergarten-level spinner and learned a lot :-}

I need to spin while reclining, do Turkish spindles do well with park-and-draft?

stakland said...

Fleegle, this post is very instructive and helpful. Later on, will you show us later exactly what order you spun the little batt subsections and then how you plied them -- whether in two very long groupings, or whatever? Because exactly how you are handling the color changes creates the amazing shifts in color that you accomplish when you are knitting. Bravo to you for such sweet generosity in sharing! Love from Emily

Mia said...

I love the tutorial on how to do the batts. I am going to have to pull out the drum carder to make a batt to deconstruct it.
And yyck on root canals!

KF-in-Georgia said...

The yarn is lovely.

And holey moley! I just realized you must be near my mother. She shops at that Ingles.

Gail said...

This is interesting even though I don't spin. What a cliffhanger - what happens next? Please share the next installment when ready.

gayle said...

I'd often looked at those rainbow-type batts and wondered how to get smooth color transitions. Thanks!
Love the cake, too!

aracne said...

A very interesting post, I will definitely have to learn how to spin.
The cake decoration is very daring!

fluffbuff said...

That was a hell of a cake. I hope that the cake celebration puts an official end to all things eyes + teeth.

Soo said...

That cake is going to give me nightmares!! Bet it tasted great though.

Hunny Bunny said...

Wow, I was going to comment on the separation of the batt being amazing AND reminding me of my little pony tails. And how you were some sort of fiber rock star but your cake skeered me okay not really I chuckled.
Hope everyone is recovered enough to see the cake and chew the cake.

Laritza said...

Love the fiber! I wonder if the seller would not ship the unblended/unlayered fiber to you. It would save her a couple of steps. I will pass on the eyeballs thank you very much!

KPiep said...

You tell that hairy midget octopus that you do to have faithful readers!

Love the batt editing info. I have been wary of blended batts' but may try again after this.

And the cake is to die for!

KPiep said...

You tell that hairy midget octopus that you do to have faithful readers!

Love the batt editing info. I have been wary of blended batts' but may try again after this.

And the cake is to die for!

Marushka C. said...

Thank you for this, it's very helpful!

Jane said...

I love how you take something and put a twist on it to make it your own! The batt deconstruction/reconstruction looked great! I love the cake and after all the pain and suffering your household endured you deserve an eye ball or three!

Jane said...

The deconstructed/reconstructed Batts were fantastic! After all the pain and suffering your household went through, you deserve an eye ball or three :-)

slipstreamfiberarts said...

Ah, this is perfect! I was wondering how you got such perfect singles through supported spindling from batts.

Stanley Lewis said...
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