Return of the Giant Rolags

Fiber preparation, more so than spinning, is frequently done in a vacuum. Since we work by ourselves, odd habits can develop unchecked that you don’t even recognize until you do them in a group setting and get those curious looks from your fellow workers.

See how the firm cardboard tube helps me to clean almost all the fiber from the drum?

Case in point: When drawing off your batts, do you a) lay them flat and pull into strips, b) lay them flat and pull across to make rolags, c) make giant rolags ro d)Batts? I only use prepared fiber.
Be honest here, I am counting.

The next question is DOES IT MATTER? Does the final yarn differ with the three methods and is one somehow wrong. Remember that any prep coming from a carder is essentially woolen, not worsted. Are there differing degrees of woolen-ness?

I am of the giant rolag camp, but I have never seen anyone else do this. How crazy am I, or is it lazy? My yarn is nice and even and I like it so I will probably continue with this method. I do think that fiber might have something to do with your choice, particularly fiber length. But I am not sure why I think that, perhaps it is just an instinct.

I am using superwash merino for this, incredibly clean and easy to card even on my Mark V. The fiber is already prepared so I am just color blending for this batch. Vote below and tell me what you think.

Color is also a strange thing. I got several pounds of a rather ugly 50/50 mix of navy and medium orange. The bag just sat there taunting me. I couldn’t picture what to blend it with to make this nasty mix nice. Sample time. I pulled out my trusty box of mixables and tried a few. I mixed it with pale yellow & green (fiberguy’s choice), red and Steeler yellow (my choice). The final ratio was 1 hot red, 2 Steeler Yellow, 8 of the nasty 50/50 mix. Now I have bucketloads of this wonderful orange heather. Yummy.

Of course, that worked so well that I am wondering what other crappy mix of colors did I buy and what can I mix them with. No good blend goes unpunished.


janel said...

I am also of the giant rolag camp. Although I haven't tried the cardboard tube, I just pull off using the ponytail method I learned from Deb Menz, but your tubes look even better!

I love the final heather orange color. Brava!

Marcy said...

Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Woh.

I like giant rolags, too.

Maia said...

Great orange heather! Color me impressed that you got something so wonderful out of that odd blend.

It is amazing what you can get with blending. I once bought a bunch of merino roving in a color that once was called flesh. A nasty color, I don't know what I was thinking. I did manage to make some quite nice batts from it though.

I don't care for spinning from rolags. Not sure why, there is nothing wrong with a rolag. I do think there are differing degrees of woolen-ness. I prefer to split the batts lengthwise into strips of semi-woolen-ness.

Ruth said...

Count me in on the giant rolags too, but not all the time. Definitely for color blends!

Back when you could get Custom Colors batts (cotton blends), I'd take them and roll side-to-side, like a snail shell. In other words, the batt rolled like yours, only rotated 90 degrees first. (clear as mud? must post pictures, ruth!)

The benefit of doing this is that you can do longer color runs, by controlling what layer goes into the drafting zone.

hmmm... Noro clone, here I come!!

fibergal said...

Oh, I so miss the Custom Colors batts. I have one saved in the stash from long ago and perhaps it has aged enough...

Annalea said...

What a neat idea. :o)

I was Googling on how to make rolags, and clicked through to this post. I've always been fascinated by combining single color fibers to make other colors; now I've got incentive to save up for a drum carder, too. lol

I'm a total newb spinner, but it's all just so totally fascinating, I'm constantly learning things that thrill and amaze me. :o) And to think it all started with that light purple yarn that had no purple fiber . . . but was a heather of hot pink and light blue . . .