Make Pumpkins With Us! Photo Tutorial for our Fall Festival

Pumpkin Kit from our Harvest Collection of 2022

Our Fall Festival is coming up and with that is our handspun Pumpkin making event held on our Instagram and Discord Server. We will have bunches of kits available, but feel free to bring your own fibers along, too! For this year, the even starts on September 18th and lasts until October 16th. Two weeks for spinning your beautiful yarns and two weeks for making pumpkins so we can do it as relaxed as we like for pacing.

We went with a super simple way to make cinched pumpkins from rectangle so any finished fabric will work! Woven, knit, or crochet!

I chose our Mint Autumn Dreams batt kit because it matches our living room decor the best. From this, prepared a gradient z-striped roving with a Diz and spun roughly a sock weight chain-plied (3 plies) yarn. Having the extra plies helps for better stitch definition and a thinner yarn will maximize your yardage. I really recommend swatching and playing with your yarn to get a feel of the size of fabric you can make. You want to aim for a fabric that is dense with few holes so that it contains the stuffing well, and also be able to make a sizeable rectangle.

From my swatches I was able to figure out that an 80 stitch wide rectangle would net me a piece of fabric around 16″ x 9″ which was perfect! Whatever ratio you end up with will change the final shape and size of your pumpkin and they are all unique. You can alter it into a range of squat to tall pumpkins in various widths. For this one, I used US 2.5 sized needles and knit a simple Garter Rib pattern. 10 stitches knit, 10 stitches purled on the wrong side row. Knit across on right side rows.

You could make this fabric in the round, but a flat piece suited our tutorial needs better. Go ahead and fold what will be the side seam edges, for this one that was the shorter sides, towards each other with the fabric inside out. Using a piece of really old handspun from my 2nd skein ever spun, I used a running stitch close together to sew the edges to each other. This handspun was really over twisted as can happen with your first and early spins, but just because it isn’t perfect or not what you hoped doesn’t mean it isn’t its own beautiful and useful thing! It might not be strong enough to cinch the pumpkin in the next steps where I switched to some leftover DK weight yarn, but it is definitely sturdy enough to seam the sides.

With yarn leftover from another project, we did a really loose running stitch around what will become the bottom of the pumpkin. Don’t sew through both layers, though! When you make the full circle, go ahead and pull that really tight and the bottom will cinch right up. Tie careful knots to secure and use one end to make a few extra stitches over the cinched fabric to keep it closed.

You will have something that resembles a bit of a bag or a hat when you turn it right side out!

Then comes the stuffing! This one was stuffed about 3/4 of the way up and a little firmly. I used clean waste wool from carding and hand combing, but feel free to bust out whatever works for you! If you are using wool, be sure to give it a lot of fluffing up so that it is very loose inside of the pumpkin for your next steps.

Cinch the top about 3/4″ of an inch or so down from the top edge in the same way that the bottom was done. Ends from the knitting can just be tucked inside and don’t necessarily need woven in. Be sure to leave ends from this cinching several inches long! We will need them later!

This next part is a little tough. Secure a rather long strand of your leftover yarn to the bottom with a few knots. You want this one there quite well. Using a crochet hook or a Doll Needle (which I found much easier to work with), you want to go up from the bottom center and out at the base of the top cinch, following the pattern of the fabric if you textured it like I did. Align the strand of yarn with the fabric texture, and pull tight. Continue around the pumpkin and then tie very securely on the bottom. You can also align all your strands and then pull tight at the end by easing each strand from beginning to end.

Tuck ends inside and it should look like this!

Add your stick stem into the top cinch! Those extra long strands from the top cinch, you can take and wrap around the little bundle of fabric and stem a few times and then tie as a cute bow. I ended up using two sticks here to make a stem of appropriate width, but all of our kits will be receiving thicker apple wood sticks that have been heat treated. The heat treating is important for any pests that may be inside. Alternative stem options that work great are other sticks, wine corks, or cinnamon sticks!

Our kits will arrive with the usual tie we do for our batt packaging, a coconut button, teeswater locks, and wool felt squares with leaf templates. For this one, I threaded the button onto the packaging string and tied a cute bow behind the top cinch bow. Teeswater locks were threaded inside the wrap of the top cinch with a crochet hook and they are pretty secure under the tight wrap. There are so very many cute ways to embellish these from embroidery to beads to going all out on buttons. There’s no end to customizing at this stage.

Time for the leaf! The finishing touch. Doing a bit of ghost cutting around the leaf template provided will give you this cute shape. I went ahead and folded it in half for acute crease down the center.

The stem was threaded in the same way as the Teeswater locks, and we have our pumpkin!

This turned out SO much cuter than I anticipated and I cannot wait to make more of these little guys. We hope you join us for our handspun pumpkin event in our Fall Festival and are on the edge of our seats waiting to see what you come up with! Thank you for following along and Happy Fall!

Mystery Fleece Blender August Moodboard

August Kit Reveal!

August brings us on a Trip to Space in the subscription and the shop’s monthly collection. I couldn’t wait to get to this one. The fleece this month is a beautiful and fine Cormo/Bond/Border Leicester Cross we happened upon. This fleece comes from a ewe named Bridget from Westfield Woolies in Indiana. The Cormo really shines through with it’s fine locks and buttery feel. Border Leicester and Bond are bringing extra length and texture to these, it feels. These breeds in combination have created a really soft next-to-skin ready wool. We really love the depth that the fleece has with its chocolate to grey shifting.

Pairing this with the striking blue Flax, which is a really soft plant fiber used to make Linen, was a goal from the start. Flax can lend a really lovely texture to carded blends. Our favorite staple of Tussah Silk brings in the softness, shine, and color palette we were seeking from our inspiration photos. Sari Silk and Silk Noil should round the blended fiber out with hints of galactic colors and star lights.

We think this fleece in particular might really enjoy a good hand combing, so we threw together a quick tutorial for blending on hand combs if that’s something you might have in your arsenal. This tutorial is using leftover fleece from our Sno Cone Sock Carding Kit with some silk and flax tossed in. I am using my Valkyrie Mini Extra Fine two-pitch viking style combs. This technique works best for fibers that are of similar or the same length.

For this technique, you will separate your locks from the fleece as you would normally. You will want to layer them on the combs, cut end on the teeth, in a sandwich style. The 3rd and 4th photo show the fleeces after 2 passes and then 3 so you can get an idea of how much blending each pass creates.

Once the locks are prepared, you can blend directly on the combs as if it were a hackle. I started by separating the bundle into thirds. Taking the first third off one comb by sliding it entirely up and off the teeth and then making sure to load the layer onto the next comb very carefully catching the back end of the fiber on the teeth. You can then sandwich your additives between each wool layer as you build the comb up. Here I have wool, flax, wool, silk, wool as my layering.

The silk was a little long so I did pull a little of the wool fiber layers forward to match the length before grabbing the entire end of the sandwich to begin pulling off the combs as you normally would. This will also work with a Diz. This same method is used on Hackles to blend hand-pulled top. We are just doing it in miniature on combs! It takes a little practice to evenly draft every layer off the combs, but it ends up like a very loose and interesting blend!

We hope you have fun playing with this and happy making!

The Gulf Coast Native

Gulf Coast Native Lamb Fleece from Summer Fields Fibers

Gulf Coast Native are a landrace breed, meaning they developed with little intervention and adapted to the climate they were in through freely breeding. As a result, there is hardly any documentation to their origins. Speculation is abundant into which breeds they might hail from. The original Spanish Churra, Merino, Southdown, Rambouillet, Dorset, Cheviot, and Hampshire are all thought to have contributed to the Gulf Coast. They developed variable fleeces and a propensity to survive well in the hot and humid climates of the south eastern United States. Gulf Coast have excellent resistance to many diseases and afflictions including parasites and hoof rot and are really well known for this. In fact, it contributed heavily to their survival and ability to grow into providing a vast majority of the wool in the lower states up until WWII when sheep of other breeds were brought into the climate with the aid of modern worming and medicating. The breed has since taken a sharp decline into a critical conservation status with few remaining.

Micron Count26-32
Staple Length2.5-4″
Project Expectations-Variable fleeces suited to hand processing to take advantage of the individual characteristics
-Typically soft with pointed tips and a plush spring to the locks
-Most fleeces are wonderful for next-to-skin garments
-This breed will bloom post bath into a really plush yarn
-Absorbs dye like a champ
-Very crisp lock structure that shows definition in stitches
-Felts well
Gulf Coast Native Locks

Gulf Coast Native are also known by many names including Pineywoods Sheep, Louisiana Native, Florida Native, or Scrubs Sheep. For a time they were also known as Florida Cracker, but that has since been defined as its own breed. Prior to WWII, these sheep numbered in the hundreds of thousands and were let to roam free among the Piney woods and sugar cane fields to be rounded up twice a year for shearing and lamb marking and collection for meat processing. This wikipedia article talks about the ecosystems of the Piney woods so you can get an idea of the environment these sheep developed in right alongside the landrace Pineywoods Cattle, that are also endangered now, in the same era.

These sheep are typically white, but can come in brown and black colorations as well. They sport no wool on their faces, legs, and bellies which is an adaptation to their hot climate. Fleece is becoming more consistent as breeders now are focusing on preservation and improvement. We find these sheep to have excellent soft and springy wool that has a very air-trapping and plush characteristic to it.

The Corriedale and Bond Sheep

Larimar on Corriedale Combed Top from our Mineral Collection of February 2022

This sheep breed is known for growing a little bit of a range in fiber characteristics and a heavy, valuable fleece. It shows its longwool roots in growing a somewhat longer fiber, but the level of softness or definition in a fleece is variable. Lambs can come in the low 20s for Micron count, making them a lovely next-to-skin choice. Adults typically range a bit higher towards a medium feel wool. The commercial combed top we have had our hands on is definitely in the higher adult range, making it a lovely choice for more durable applications. We are so enamored with the natural colored and spotted fleeces you can find at some farms.

Micron Count25-31
Staple Length3-6″
Project Expectations-Though typically a medium wool, Corriedale can have a wide fiber variety.
-Longer stapled wool with a reliable crimp pattern.
-Corriedale is known to bloom post wash, it is recommended to spin thinner than you anticipate your final yarn to be.
-Durable fiber suited to most projects. Let your heart go wild with this one and your skin judge the level of it’s next-to-skin softness, but as a medium wool you might like a layer inbetween.
Natural Colored Corriedale Locks from Iron Water Ranch

Corriedale are a dual-purpose sheep breed developed for specific grazing land. Romney and Merino dominated New Zealand and Australia in the late 1800s, but were only suited to certain types of forage growth. James Little sought to develop a breed capable of thriving on the land in-between the types of forage Merino and Romney occupied. He crossed Lincoln Longwools and Leicesters with his Merino flocks and developed the Corriedale, named after his ranch. Bond sheep are closely related to the Corriedale, being comprised of the same breeds. The difference is that Thomas Bond selected for finer fleeces than Corriedale breeders did, creating a breed with its own distinct association. In 1914, the United States Department of Agriculture imported Corriedale sheep into the country. The breed is also very well established in South America and the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands are known particularly for their clear white wool, but anything labeled Falkland Wool comes from a variety of breeds with Corriedale among them. The other breeds that comprise the fiber are Merino, Polwarth, Romney, and Cheviot.

The Cormo Sheep

Washed and Unwashed Cormo Wool from Merry Meadows Farm

Cormo wool can truly be described as buttery soft and you might not know how accurate of a descriptor that is until you touch it. Cormo is a beautifully delicate fine wool breed that produces a hefty fleece. This breed really shows some of the best characteristics of its base breeds. Go wild using this fiber for next-to-skin garments or keep it in lock form and let it add texture to your art yarns.

Micron Count17-23
Staple Length3-5″
Project Expectations-Superfine soft and buttery wool. An excellent complement for next-to-skin garments.
-This fiber is so fun as a batt additive because it can create a chunky and fluffy texture in lock form. Like cotton candy, truly!
-Expect Cormo to bloom post bath.
Cormo Locks

Cormo are a cross of Corriedale and Merino flocks established in Tasmania, Australia and the name is a combination of the base breeds. Ian Downie wanted to improve his Merino sheep and utilized computer data in the early 1960s with the assistance of Helen Turner, a leading sheep geneticist. Corriedale rams were bred with 1200 Saxon Merino ewes and the offspring that met the analytic data Helen and Ian were seeking, became the Cormo. Cormo continue to be bred based on a very strict scientific analysis and their fleeces are particularly consistent across a sheep. They were imported to the United States in 1976 and 1979 where they have primarily been bred for handspinners fleeces.

Spinning Multiple Batts Together

Cloud Strike Batt Pair

Analyzing The Batts

In the photo above there are two Cloud Strike batts that I couldn’t help but keep from our May 2022 Natural Events Collection. This colorway really emphasized the use of texture and colors that pop against each other for a well defined artistic batt. The hope with this spin was to retain the same gradient and color layout that the batts presented. As detailed in our Tackling Art Batts post, the underside of your batt tells a really helpful story for prep. Chain ply is an excellent method to retain a gradient, so I knew right away that it would be the intentional way to spin these. However; I wanted one entire skein and not two.

I could have split each batt into thin strips, aligned the matching color sections, and spun them consecutively. Instead, I chose the method detailed here so that I could spin the batts held together as though a single roving. It worked out really fantastic in the end!

Using A Diz

Batt face

When you open up a batt, you can easily see the topside and the underside. When viewing the batt, you can also determine the top and bottom being the fluffy ends where it was broken off the carder and the sides. To keep this gradient intact, we want to work from one side to the other. In doing this, I chose to use a Diz to prep each of these batts separately before joining them.

A Diz is any item with a small hole in it. You can use items specifically made for it or anything down to spare buttons so long as you can get a comfortable grip on it. The Diz is not going to have too much pressure on it because you do not use it to pull on the fiber. Typically your fiber thickness is going to determine what size of a hole you want to use. Finer fibers do better with smaller holes and thicker fibers with larger. This Diz from The Dancing Goats is a durable metal dome with 4 size options. Knowing these batts are made from Rambouillet primarily, which is a fine wool, and that I want to spin this yarn rather thin, I want to choose one of the smaller options.

To Diz the fiber, you would start at one corner and work up one side of the batt and back down once you reach the other corner and repeat across. Using a threader is really helpful to start it and determining your fiber’s staple length helps to tell you how much you can pull fiber forward before breaking a length off. You only want to pull about halfway of your fiber’s staple length. Wool is covered in microscopic scales that naturally want to grab each other so long as you don’t pull too far off. This is why yarn holds together so strongly with twist and your fibers are capable of grabbing the next in line when you draft. A Diz does a wonderful job of taking advantage of this while creating a loose roving.

Putting a light pressure on the batt with one hand, you pull the fiber that is threaded through the Diz as if you are drafting some out and keep to half the staple length pulled from the batt. Then you slide the Diz back to smooth the fiber. Repeat in a zig-zagging top to bottom path from one side of the batt to the other.

Utilizing the Figure Eight Wrap

After you have used the Diz to create a loose hand-pulled roving from each batt, you could just roll it into a ball for the next steps or utilize a figure 8 wrapping method. Rolling a ball naturally introduces twist into a fiber. To keep each batt drafting smoothly, I did not want twist to happen in the roving.

Wrapping your fiber in a figure 8 like the steps shown above imparts hardly any twist onto your fiber. I wrapped both batts in this method before starting my next preparation step which was to combine them and align the colors. Each batt was a slightly different weight and you can’t guarantee your colors will align perfectly just holding them side by side and spinning. To fix this, I laid each roving next to each other and drafted them thinner together. They are still separate pieces, but it is much easier to align the colors this way. If one starts to get out of alignment, you can break that piece off and draft the other one until the colors match up again. Then hold the pieces side by side and draft together.

I did figure 8 wrap this again and one batt was certainly just a bit longer than the other in the end. Overall, I adored this prep method and the results really sing!

Finally Spinning!

In spinning, just be sure to draft from each roving evenly. They will still be separate pieces, but having a small pre-drafted roving that your hands can fully grasp and not have to work across as you would a full Combed Top, is really helpful. This would have been rather difficult to tackle if I had spun directly from the batts at the same time. If you feel your colors fall out of alignment again, you can break the one side off and rejoin once the other matches it once more.

It was really fun watching the resulting gradient emerge on the bobbin of my Cadorette/Laurence Quebec Production Wheel. I am really enamored with spinning on antique and vintage wheels, and this specific Double Treadle has been such an honest treat to have in my flock. Spinning these batts was an absolute breeze, even if it did take many hours. This bobbin held the 5oz of fiber easily, but I did need to chain ply on my modern Schacht Ladybug just for the bobbin capacity. You may have noticed yarn takes up more space in plying as it blooms with lower twist plying produces than it did as a single.

I’m so happy with the results of the spin. The batts are perfectly represented right down to where the yellow and brown stripes were laying in the batts. I will without a doubt be using this prep method a lot more in the future. I am really curious how color management may go in a spin using multiple colorways for the same yarn in the same method. I hope you find this really useful, too!

Mystery Fleece Blender June Moodboard

June Kit Reveal!

Our June Kit was themed around Parrots and featured some wonderful dye that I’m so happy with. The gold Bamboo and the blue on the Romeldale fleece turned out so amazing. We hope this was a real pleasure to open!

This month’s kit came with Romeldale wool from Full Measure Farm who is a local to us homestead. We are so proud to work with this family in improving their wool quality and helping them to expand their flock and be able to offer more sheepy products. Kindra and her husband are the kindest souls and their farm land is beautiful and their sheep are spoiled and complete sweethearts. I purchased my very first fleeces from her and that wool taught me so much about fleece processing. I’m so excited they will be expanding their Romeldale flock with an impressive Moorit ram this year and new ewes. Romeldale are a threatened status conservation breed per the Livestock Conservancy, so we are deeply excited to see people work towards expanding the population further. Support Full Measure Farm on their Etsy!

Romeldale wool is wonderful for so many types of projects. It is typically a very fine and matte fiber that is excellent for next to skin projects while still being wonderfully elastic and sporting a cozy bloom to the fiber post wash. I would describe this fiber as being very plush. Please be sure to check out our series of blog posts on how to prepare fleece for carding before you get started with her.

June Moodboard

For the blend, we brought in a bit of the tropics these birds would naturally call home with the Banana Fiber included in the kit. You will also find immense shine in the Bamboo and Tussah Silk that will contrast beautifully against the matte fiber. Both of these will also accent the softness of the Romeldale. Bringing in a hint of texture to the blend is a bit of bold pulled Sari Silk roving.

Splitting for a Gradient

I went ahead and made a sample from the kits myself to share how a gradient can be made by splitting the wool and carding a few passes extra of a blended version of the two colors. This creates another color that is a mix of the two and makes for an easier transition between touching colors of fiber! Really fun to do with multicolored natural fleeces also. It helps to keep the colors separate until you create the final batt.

Final Batt

Catch us on our Discord Chat Server linked on the website or on our Instagram with your projects. We are really dying to see what you all come up with and to know your opinions on the kit. Thank you again and happy blending!

Romeldale and CVM

Soft silver Romeldale fleece from a sheep at Gleann Daire Farm

We love a good fine wool and rare breed sheep. Romeldale fit both categories in addition to being an American breed. Romeldale were developed after a man named A.T. Spencer sought to improve his Rambouillet flock for staple length and the size of his market lambs. In 1915, at the Pan-American Exhibition, he purchased a number of New Zealand Marsh Romneys to cross with his flock. The resulting cross breed was developed over many years, selecting for wool and meat quality until the breed was well established in the 1940s and 50s. Much of the breed’s population resided at J.K. Sexton’s Stone Valley Ranch and the wool was highly prized. The flock’s entire beautiful white fiber clip was sold to Pendleton Woolen Mill.

Whale Shark Art Batt with Romeldale as the grey fiber
Micron Count21-25
Staple Length3-6″
Project Expectations-Beautiful white or naturally colored fine wool
-Matte finish fiber, pair with something that has luster for interesting depth in a project
-Takes dye well and overdyeing a natural fleece can bring a lot of depth
-Tight crimp pattern leads to an elastic and lofty yarn
-Yarn will bloom in finishing stage
-Wonderful for next-to-skin items

So where does the name California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, fit in? During the 1960s, a neighboring shepherd by the name of Glen Eidman that was working on raising Romeldale with the Sexton’s ranch had two badger patterned sheep born. Thankfully the color drew his interest as anything but pure white fiber was frowned upon by large mill operations, often resulting in the culling of the animals from breeding programs. He worked towards developing the colored sheep further for handspinners and they resulted in the CVM. After much debate on if they classified as a new breed, CVM are now defined as a subset of the Romeldale breed that presents the badger markings. While there may be white or natural colored Romeldales, there are only colored badger patterned CVMs. Badger patterning is characterized by a dark head and belly with a white wedge on the face and a range of shades on the fleece.

CVM and Romeldale are now listed as a threatened status on the Livestock Conservancy since their popularity has declined. It is taking some time to build back up as a breed, though we have found beautiful handspinners fleeces easier to come by than others in the same conservancy category. Their large fleeces are a joy to see with their very fine crimp patterns and blocky, longer locks. They can feel both very soft and bouncy at the same time. The matte finish is of the fleece can lend itself to some interesting depth applications in art batts by blending with other fibers of various shine. This breed is definitely a favorite and we hope that it continues to gain traction.

A Quick Study In Batt Density

A Selection of Batts from the same carder and the same amount of wool

A drum carder will produce a batt that is the size of its larger drum. A standard carder will brush the fibers to the size of about 8-10″ x 20-30″ depending on the size of the drum. How those fibers behave off the carder can tell you a little bit about what to expect from your resulting yarn in terms of elasticity, density, drape, and the ease with which the fiber can trap air which affects the warmth it will provide.

Jacob wool batt sitting above a Bluefaced Leicester batt
Merino and Tencel based batt on a Bluefaced Leicester batt

The batts shown here are all from the same carder and you can tell their sizes vary widely. This has to do with how much elasticity and density your fiber has. The Bluefaced Leicester batt shown here is pretty average for the type of wool we pull off of our carder. You can see that the Jacob wool is much thinner, owing to the elasticity of the breed in comparison. You could expect the Jacob wool to hold up better in projects that need to bounce back to an original shape. The Merino and Tencel batt on the other hand is a 50/50 blend of an elastic wool and a dense, shiny plant fiber. This batt comes off the carder and stays quite compressed to the size of the drum. The Tencel fiber does quite a bit to make the batt behave in a very draping and dense manner without much elasticity.

The thickness of a Merino and Tencel based batt over a Jacob batt

That is also evident in the image above, where you’ll note how much the Jacob fiber fluffs up in comparison to the Merino and Tencel blend. The Jacob is more likely to lean into its elastic properties and trap more air, making it the warmer blend. Hand-processed fleece always seems to be able to capture more air in its layers and fluffs up significantly more than I feel mill-prepared fibers do.

Romney Farm batt over Bluefaced Leicester

You can see in this photo and the one at the top of this post just how thick and fluffy this Romney farm fiber is in relation to the Bluefaced Leicester that is mill-prepared.

Tunis batt over a Bluefaced Leicester batt

Tunis, for instance, is notorious for being a very elastic fiber and you can see that illustrated here by how the fibers compress into a thinner batt. This batt is also thicker and traps more air.

This is definitely a useful trick in analyzing your wool blends while carding and really interesting to pay attention to. Of course, you should always be mindful if you are carding towards a specific project of the properties of your fibers and how they may behave in a final yarn. Everything that goes into your carder has an effect on the structure and texture of your yarn.

Tackling Art Batts

Striped, Solid, and Gradient Batt

We are frequently asked how to approach spinning an art batt. In this post, we will tackle a number of different methods. Some of these methods work really well with Combed Top, too! The underside of your batt actually contains a lot of valuable information about color management. Examining the underside of the batt removes the distraction of textural elements and gives you a good sense of the underlying color layout. We’re going to suggest some specific methods for different types of color layouts, but every method included below can be used on any color type – don’t be afraid to get creative!

Solids

If you are looking at a lovely solid under your batt, these are some suggested, but not exhaustive methods to approach this. Spinning the batt as it lies starting at one corner and working across is a very simple approach.

Diz prep

Using a Diz, an object with a hole for pulling roving through, is a wonderful fiber prep. This will make your batt an easier size and pre-drafted shape to work from. You start by threading a small piece of wool through a hole on the diz. You then pull the fiber out just like drafting, but about half the length of the staple in the wool. Slide the diz back along the fiber you pull out and it will smooth it!

Rolag Prep

Another way to approach this is to take something heavy weighted like a large book to hold the batt down, take two sticks (even pencils can work!), and pull small rolags off of your batt.

Striped

A Striped Batt

Batts with color variation start to add more opportunities for creative approach. Striped batts can be approached as wonderful variegated pieces spun as they lie and drafted across the stripes by hand or with a diz.

Color Editing

Each stripe could be also stripped off the batt by color and spun however you wish to align them. This opens the avenue for color editing your fiber as well. On occasion there is a theme I wish to go for when spinning and a fiber will almost meet my color needs. Color editing works by removing colors you don’t like, adding new ones in, or rearranging the colors in your fiber to fit what you are going for!

Mini Skein Options grouped by color family

I really like to tear bold color strips off and turn them into mini skein collections on smaller capacity spinning tools like spindles or my Great Wheel. The goal for these is small colorwork patterns where the textural additives in the batt will tie everything together.

Rippy Bits bowl

You could also take this batt and rip it into a bunch of chunks, which I like to call Rippy Bits style, and make either an aligned setup that keeps the batt arrangement intact or turn it into a fun grab bag to pull from.

The skein on the left was spun Gradient style and on the right from Rippy Bits.

Gradient

I am nothing if not passionate about my gradients. All of the prior methods plus a couple others work so well with these. In addition to splitting the color as you would a striped batt, if you are looking to preserve the gradient, I would suggest using the area where one color transitions into another as it’s own strip in between colors.

Giant Rolag

If you carefully take a batt and roll it over on itself, you will end up with a giant rolag. This will blend the top accent fibers more thoroughly into your yarn, which may hide some, but can make a very easy method to spin from one end and preserve the gradient progression. This works great with a Diz!

Z-Striping

Z-Striping is another way to preserve a gradient. You would start stripping the batt at one corner and work towards the other, but instead of tearing the full piece off at the end you would turn around and start stripping in the other direction. Work this way through the batt until you have what resembles a roving to spin from. Pre-drafting from this can help even out any lumps and bumps.

Let us know if there are any methods you use that we should try and we hope this helps!

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