Roving Reporter: Gradient Spinning: 3 Reasons to Love Smoothie Batts

I love teaching gradient spinning classes. It’s fun to strategize not only about the many ways we can create our own gradients (yarns that change slowly from one end of the skein to the other), but also how to best use the many gradient fibers and blends on the market. When I order workshop supplies and the boxes arrive on my doorstep, bursting with color, it’s a good day!

This shipment arrived from Deep Dyed Yarns and continued its journey with me to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool earlier this month. I can report that many spinners caught their breath and politely grappled for favorite colorways when I invited them to choose a batt to spin during class.

Gradient Spinning

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this might be it.

Great options abound for spinning color-shifting yarns in combed tops, batts, rolags, and punis. Just search for “gradient spinning fiber” on Etsy or Instagram and you’ll see what I mean. These preparations, both smooth and textured, provide us with a range of spinning possibilities. Here’s one that I enjoy using in workshops.

Behold, the Smoothie Batt!

Here are three reasons to love it.

1. Easily spun in a wide variety of ways.

Made with Merino combed tops, these batts are easy to draft when rolled into a large rolag or stripped as desired. If you’ve never tried these batt-handling techniques before, this is a great place to start.

2. Colorways that work.

Designed as gradients, the colors overlap enough that they shift slowly from one color to the next. This creates more shading and less striping.

3. They’re smooth. Really.

When I’m looking for a batt to create smooth singles and yarns for projects such as bandweaving, I need a very well blended batt. It’s easy to end up with small lumps, bumps, thick spots, and fibers that bend into little U-shapes around the carder teeth, making more or less delightful texture. No texture here.

Gradient Spinning

Gradient Spinning

A half-batt spun and waiting in my studio to be woven. I love how the sample band turned out!

You can catch me and my new stash of Smoothie Batts at the Sauder Village Fiber Arts Festival on September 29.

Looking for ways to use your gradient yarns? Check out some of my tips for finding patterns and a round-up of pattern options.

Kate Larson

Featured Image: Smoothie batts ready for spinners in Wisconsin. Photos by Kate Larson

Find your batt bliss!