The Beauty of Batts
Almost a decade ago, I took a beginning spinning class with Maggie Casey at Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder, Colorado. During one of our class sessions, Maggie set up several drum carders, filled a table with various bits of fiber, and let us go wild creating our own batts. Watching what had been a pile of odds and ends peel off the drum carder as a beautiful, textured, multi-dimensional sheet of color was like magic. I'm not sure if it was my inner artist, or my inner frugal scrap-buster, or both, but I fell in love with batts on that day.
Are you a fellow batt lover? Or are you a stranger to these wonderful bundles of fibery joy? From what I've gathered from online forums and chats with friends, all too often these gorgeous sheets of fiber sit unused in stashes because people aren't sure how to spin them.
Batts offer spinners a nearly unparalleled range of options for spinning customization. Would you like to spin from a monochromatic batt, or one with bold color repeats? Do you want your fiber types homogenized, or would you like to experiment with something that has more discrete layers? Are you looking for smooth textures, or something a bit wild?
Batts, at their most basic, are simply very wide and very short pieces of roving. You can spin a batt to preserve color repeats or to blend them, just like you can with roving. In fact, you can prepare and spin a batt in most of the same ways as any other roving in your stash. Pre-draft them into thinner sections and treat them like roving, roll them into a rolag, pull off a section and spin from the fold: batts are a blank canvas for experimentation.
I hope that you'll join me in batt-vangelism and celebrate the beauty of batts. Revel in their depth of color! Enjoy the layering of inventive fiber combos! Delight in the endless ways in which you may spin! And if your batt-spinning could use some work, check out Jillian Moreno's DVD to guide you on your new journey.
Go forth and befriend a batt today!
PS: If you want to know more about how your batt colors will work together with different techniques, check out Color in Spinning. This classic by Deb Menz is a steal at the annual Hurt Book Sale: bit.ly/AdoptASpinningBook