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What is the difference between Handspun yarn used from roving or a carded batt?

Want to see a side by side comparison of handspun yarn made from hand painted roving or a carded batt?  It’s something I have always wanted to do, but until recently, did not have all the equipment needed to see the difference first hand.  You may be asking “What the heck is a carded batt or hand painted roving, in the first place?”  Let’s explore the difference!

CARDED BATT: (pictured below on left) a carded batt is fiber that is run through a Drum Carder.  Later this week, I will post more details about the Drum Carder and how it’s used.

HAND PAINTED ROVING: (pictured below on right) named for the process of how the dye is applied to the fiber.  The professional dye, in liquid form, is applied directly onto the fiber using sponge brushes.  Roving is the strand of twisted and drawn-out fibers of cotton, wool, silk, etc. from which yarns are made.


A Tale of Two Fibers
Carded Batt & Hand Painted Roving

In this example, the roving is from a super soft, top grade Merino Wool.  I used 2 balls of roving, both from the same DYE LOT (in other words, dyed at the same time), both 4 ounces.

Last week I acquired a new piece of equipment…a Strauch Drum Carder.  Thrilled to have a new toy to play with, I stayed up way late on Saturday night carding and spinning.  Stay tuned later this week for pictures of the carder and much more on how it’s used.

Let’s look at the Carded Batt first.  Below pictured is the journey of the Carded Batt Handspun Yarn:


The First Hand Painted Rovings Journey

The end result is a yarn full of depth and intricate in it’s structure.  It’s a bit more muted in it’s overall appearance.  Each individual strand holds a complexity unparalleled.  The fiber was spun onto 2 bobbins and plied through the spinning wheel to make a 2 ply yarn.


Handspun from Carded Batt
Handspun from Carded Batt

Below is the picture of the second hand painted roving used to make the yarn (remember all from the same dye lot as the above example).


Hand Painted Fiber turned directly into Handspun Yarn
Hand Painted Fiber turned directly into Handspun Yarn

Now with this roving, it was divided in half, spun through the spinning wheel, and then plied together to make a 2-ply yarn. I wanted to make the exact same kind of yarn for a more comprehensive side by side comparison.  Below is the yarn:


Handspun straight from Hand Painted Roving
Handspun straight from Hand Painted Roving

The colors are more bold and stand out more.  Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite!  I love both looks and both outcomes.  The two skeins of yarn would be stunning if combined into a project or left separate.

When it all comes down to it, it’s just your personal preference and what you are going to do with the yarn.  I tend to love the complexity of the blends and enjoy the variations of changing colors while I am knitting, but you really get that from both yarns.   To say one is better than the other would be impossible.

Hopefully, this at least helps you see the difference in the handspun yarn when it is made from hand painted roving or from a carded batt.


Side by Side Comparison
Side by Side Comparison

To card or not to card?  My answer?  Both!


Final outcome: Tale of Two Skeins
Tale of Two Skeins
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Handspun Yarn from Hand Painted Roving; The Progression

Katniss Progression
Katniss Progression

Hand Painted Roving has a life of it own.  It’s complexly painted colors once twisted and turn different ways through a spinning wheel or drop spindle can make the most amazing product.

Above is an example of the progression a simple ball of wool took from being painted with professional dyes to being spun into a usable skein of yarn.

Twilight Progression
Twilight Progression

Depending on the type of handspun yarn being made, sometimes there are more steps involved.  The above picture of Twilight Progression, shows the original black, red, and white painted roving.  The second picture shows the roving spun on the spinning wheel.  The third shows the yarn, still on the wheel being plied with the sparkle thread.  Lastly, you see the end product, the handspun yarn.

Duplicity Progression
Duplicity Progression

Sometimes, yarn can be surprising.  The above painted roving was light and dark.  The end outcome plying the half of the spun roving together ended up being very different.

From Bobbin to Skein
From Bobbin to Skein

The handspun yarn above was from the same painted roving batch.  This shows how two different types of handspun yarn look made from the same colorway.  One was coiled and the second was plied with thread.

Hand Painted Roving
Hand Painted Roving

Last week, with the help of two dear friends, we hand painted 19 batches of top grade, merino wool roving.  This week, I’m spinning it all up.  Hopefully I will have a lot more awesome progressions to show off!

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Handspun Snow Art Yarn

This is the final outcome of waking up and wanting to know “Where’s the snow?”.  A unique handspun yarn plied with a white eye lash yarn and 85 iridescent white snowflake sequins carefully strung on a metallic thread.
For the last week, our forecast has shown snow.  Maybe not a lot of snow, 1 to 2 inches, but for here any snow is really exciting!  Growing up in California, in the valley, the land of no snow, then moving here has been a treat.  There is a chance of snow!  Not enough to be sick of it, just enough to really enjoy it.  Just enough to make a snowman, get cold enough to enjoy hot chocolate, and then warm up by the fire.  Then in a day or so, it’s gone.  Again, for the last week, we were going to get snow last night.  I woke up this morning to no snow.  So, what’s a girl to do?  I just had to make my own.
I threaded 85 sequined snowflakes.  Then I spun some blue yarn.  Next I thought it needed a little blizzard effect so I added in the white eyelash yarn.
The next part was a bit of a slow process. Actually plying the three together was a bit tricky. Every time a snowflake went through the orifice, I had to stop and help it get to the bobbin. But each and every snowflake made this skein well worth it.
Once off the wheel, it was onto my swift.  I have to say…this morning when I peaked out my window, there was a deep sigh of disappointment.  But when I peered at what came off the swift, there was absolutely no disappointment.  It was definitely enough to make me smile.
This yarn is now on Etsy.
To you who live in the land of snow…go out and make a snowman for me 🙂  To those of you who do not, enjoy the view of Handspun Snow.  It’s almost like Jack Frost himself breathed out this skein of handspun art yarn!  Stay warm and cozy, but enjoy the winter.  ♥
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Old Meets New: Horse Carriages, Cell Phones, Spinning Wheels, Fireworks…

Old Meets New
Nothing beats being somewhere and seeing beautiful horse drawn carriages.  Takes you back.  Makes you think of the day when all there were were horses and wagons and wait a minute…is that guy on a cell phone?  Yep, turns out both horse drawn carriage drivers were on their cell phones.  Wonder if they were talking to each other.  CLICK HERE if you want to see the picture “Old Meets New” on Flickr.  It’s a bit larger.
The set up this year at The Promenade at Chenal was really not that great. First off it was so windy. Everything had to be really anchored down. Standing behind my booth was very chilly. Secondly, they placed us down at the end of the center with another vendor. All the activities (horse drawn carriages, tree lighting, choirs, Santa & Mrs. Claus) was in the center of the area. At least the general manager came by and apologized for our placement. I think the initial thinking was if they placed vendors at the ends it would keep people walking around…not so much. The manager told me next year would be different and we would be smack in the middle of things. I will have to think long and hard over whether or not this show is worth doing again. But hey, at least it ended in a BANG:
There were a ton of fireworks and they were awesome!
What’s on the Wheel Wednesday (& handspun too):
Pictures on Top Row: New Handspun Christmas Red & White Sparkly Yarn
Picture on Bottom Left: Alpaca Handspun Yarn
Picture on Bottom Right: Blue Tencel & Merino
What’s on the Knitting Needles?
This array of mess is a new Scrap Scarf. It’s a lot wider than the last one. Such an amazing use for all my scraps. The end outcome is always so cool…a cross between harmony and ciaos.
I got these trio of Snowmen Razorback Fans at Hallmark.  They have opted out of doing a new snowman in their series this year (which I am totally heart broken about).  But the new Razorback Trio was a great consultation.
I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas Season.  Enjoy every minute of it, and craft your pants off…we still have 22 crafting days left!  ♥
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Artsfest Yarn Premiere

Artsfest, in Conway, Arkansas, has come and gone, but the memories of the day live on. In addition to the memories, the Artsfest Handspun Yarn will be around for many years to come. May I introduce the first batch of yarn handspun from the roving the kids painted during the Artsfest festival:I have now finished five skeins of yarn (from four batches of roving). I made a different type of yarn with each roving. Variety is the spice of life!This yarn is in two skeins. It is crazy curly and springy. It reminds me of Medusa’s Hair.
This next yarn is very bulky and thick. It’s a 2-ply yarn and it is absolutely divine.

Just because I adore the way this next style yarn looks, I made two batches of roving this way. This one is plied with a gold thread:

This one is plied with a black thread:

The yarn plied with the black thread is the very first Artsfest yarn I made. Here it is lying on a bed of all the painted roving from Artsfest 2009:
I’m very busy spinning up the rest. I will have at least 4 more skeins to share when I’m finished.

Big announcement, this year, I will be at Dazzle Daze! It’s a huge show right here in Conway. I will be sure to post more about that as time get closer.
Lastly, just a quick heads up for those of you who stumble upon my blog. In the next couple days I will be announcing another really big surprise. Love this yarn??? Then you’ll want to be a Facebook Fan of The Twisted Purl. That’s all I’m tell you for now. Happy Crafting! ♥