Tag Archive: batt

So, I know. I’ve been gone a long time, huh? At the risk of sounding like I’m making excuses – there have been a series of damn good reasons! First there was Tour de Fleece, at which I sucked MIGHTILY. But I didn’t want to try and rush the Pratchett yarns so I kept clear of them while I was spinning madly. Then I went to Adelaide on a business trip (and never again will I make fun of people when they’re sent on a “junket” for work – that was hard, hard going, I tellz ya), which I enjoyed a great deal but left little time for spinning. After I got back, there were the fires to be put out at work, as always, and then I got myself in a frightful excitement about Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit fame) coming to Perth to do a workshop. That was last weekend, and right now I’m embroiled in spinning for my entries into the Perth Royal Show. I’ll show them off before I send them in, over on the Hammer & Tongs blog. And after the show, there will be NaNoWriMo! I hope to keep the spinning up while I’m doing that, but it does demand a great deal of time – I know that from experience.

But to keep you all interested (or maybe I have to interest you all again!) I wanted to post a pic of the incredible batt that Brittany of Bohoknitterchic made for me, at my special request for a particular Pratchett Project yarn. My instructions to her were centred mainly on the colour scheme I wanted – maroon, gold, purple, mahogany – and admonishments to avoid my fibre dislikes. But I had to add one particular instruction for this batt – “LUDICROUS amounts of firestar”.

Custom batt from Bohoknitterchic

Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to guess the “theme” of this yarn! Chime in, if you can be bovvered, and tell me what this batt reminds you of from the rich tapestry of life in Sir Pratchett’s Discworld? I love the batt – it’s simply incredible, and I can’t wait to get moving on spinning it. I think corespun, to show off the colours (and SHINY) but I haven’t got much further on my plans than that.

What do you think? Don’t you love it?

See the firestar?? It's blinding!

Dizzy Ptarmigans

Well, they would be, if you spun them, wouldn’t they?

I’ve started spinning the brown ply of the Reversed Ptarmigan yarn. I’m pretty confident on this yarn as it’s not as demanding artistically as the (ongoing) Hedgehog yarn, so I’m going all out. I’ve divided my brown mixed fibre into two equal halves by weight in order to come at the cabling from the right sort of angle. I wasn’t too fussy on how fine it was to be spun but I wanted the final result somewhere in the 8-ply (DK) to 12-ply (aran/bulky) weight range. Plenty of wiggle room. I’m toying with the idea of some funky plying in the first plying pass, but I’ll see when I get there. Long way to go yet, as once I started spinning the brown it kind of wanted to be spun pretty fine; I’ll probably end up on the finer end of my target range.

Sayra’s batts are really lovely and chunky; I admire her work so much because of the incredible texture she manages to maintain in her batts. However, for this yarn, I really needed something smoother, so I had to do something with the batt. This is what it looked like when I started:

Fieldmouse batt as received from Sayra (ignore the random bit of pink fluff)

Now, I prefer the results I get when I hand-card fibre, but my big hand cards are currently on loan to a friend and I was NOT going to use the little ones or I’d be there forever. So I got all brave and used the Ashford drum carder I’ve got on hire from the Perth Handweavers’, Spinners’ and Dyers’ Guild. Because this carder is quite small and I frankly suck at using it, I made sure and split the batt into small bits in order to get a smooth result. What came out was actually quite nice:

Re-carded batts

For the record, I felt a bit bad carding the batts again. I sort of felt like I was running roughshod over Sayra’s work, but I hope she understands my intention and the need for it.

One of the most ridiculous, hilarious, enjoyable and endlessly delightful aspects of the Discworld books, for me, is the naming system for the years. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many of them actually floating around, but the ones I have found have inspired visions of yarn, and inspired my own brain to think up ridiculous pairings of words in the same style.

So my next yarn, which I’m planning and prepping at the moment, is to be called Reversed Ptarmigan. I didn’t know exactly what kind of bird a ptarmigan was – I had a vision in my head of a fat, plump little speckled brown and white thing, that maybe didn’t fly all that much. So I had a loose idea of a fairly tame yarn, brown and white, probably a 2×2 cable. (For the non-spinners, that means taking your single ply that’s spun directly from the loose fibre, twisting it with another one for a 2-ply, and then putting that against itself and twisting again to make a 4-ply.) I wanted the brown to be rich and gorgeous, the white to be immaculate. I wanted the cabling to suggest the “Reversed” nature of this particular Ptarmigan. I wanted it to lofty and squishy and oh! so soft to evoke the plumpness and roundness, the low-to-the-ground sedentariness.

Turns out, I was kind of close in my assumptions about ptarmigans! They change colour with the seasons, white in the winter and brown in the summer, and transitioning in the in-between-times. Here’s a picture, supposedly of a Willow Ptarmigan (aka Willow Grouse):

I have the perfect batt for the brown; the most amazingly rich, shiny, treasure-filled treat from my lovely crack-dealer fibre-supplier, Sayra at AtomicBlue. She calls it “Fieldmouse” (because I think she didn’t like that I wanted a fully brown batt! sssssshhhh!) which kind of sells it short – it has loads of the most gorgeous rufous-brown silk, soft-soft-soft wool, incredibly fine and lustrous mohair (and I don’t even like mohair!) . . . It’s gorgeous, I tell ya. And I’ll post pics and continue the story in my next episode!