So, my friend Fern phoned this evening to say that our new drum carder had arrived. (We decided to go halfsies on one, since neither of us quite thought we could justify the expense alone. Right now, it's living at her house.)
Owen and I went right over and brought along the grape Kool-Aid almost-felted roving to run through.
We had a chuckle about one sheet of instructions that was packed with it. It was a notice that a great many returns for service were introduced with the owner saying, "I lent it to a friend..." So, they want to make sure to remind folks not to lend out the drum carder without properly training the friend first.
After carefully reading all the important parts of the manual, we got out some plain white inexpensive roving to run through a few times. This is to clean off any crud left on at the factory, and indeed, that first fiber did get pretty dingy. When we got a clean run, then I started in on the grape Kool-aid batch.
My first batts! It's a lot of fun to make them and I'm excited to imagine the creative potential in blending fibers and colors.
Earlier in the day, I decided that I needed to make the yarn from these singles into a 3 ply. I tried Navajo plying a little sample, the second time I ever tried. I did a better job the first time. After a couple broken strands in thin spots and a twisty gobbledy-gook mess, I decided I wasn't going to pursue that tonight. Surely plain old plying with three strands would be easier. Except that I had one center pull ball and one small quantity on a cone. The two ends from the center-pull ball had more affinity for one another than the third ply, but I just wanted to get a sense of the weight of yarn I'd end up with, so I made enough yards for a little swatch.
I really like the feel of it. It has a satisfying springiness and is pleasantly soft. It just has a nice hand.
Energized by all this, I got home from Fern's about 10 and spun up some of one of the batts. What a delight! Compared to working apart the almost-felted fibers by hand, this is a dream.
I'm planning to make it all a three-ply, probably a heavy sport-weight/DK range. My swatch was done on US #5 needles and that seems just right.
I just need to work out the right amount of twist for plying three strands. I'm getting the hang of balanced two-ply, but my timing is off on the three-ply.