Last fall I had the wonderful opportunity to take a class on core spinning at WC Mercantile. It's my favorite spinning store and you should check it out when you're in Navasota. I had done a little bit of core spinning in the past but this class used art batts as the source for fiber to spin around the core.
First core spinning... it's spinning a fiber around a central core. The core can be a hand spun single or commercial thread, thin yarn or crochet cotton. The core is generally completely covered so it's not seen in the final yarn... unless you want it to be part of the design.
In this case I'm using ecru crochet cotton as the core and wrapping the mixed fibers of the art batt around it. You can see I've wrapped the core around my fingers so it doesn't slip too easily onto the bobbin. A silk core sounds much sexier but you want the core to be slightly rough so it grabs onto the fibers and doesn't let them slip and slide around.
Art batts are a funky mix of fibers including the standard wool, mohair and silk along with ribbon and charms and flashy metallics - just about anything you can spin. This batt is actually much blacker than it looks in the photo and is called Black Opal.
Some batts are well carded and uniform and will allow you to spin a perfectly consistent yarn. Others are a jumble of fibers and colors just barely carded enough to hold together and usually produce a lumpy bumpy unique yarn. No surprise that I like the lumpy bumpy final result the best.
The class was so wonderful that I rushed home and bought 6 or 8 art batts on etsy.com. Check out etsy if you're looking for anything hand made and all the supplies you need to make anything hand made. I spun them with glee. I suggested to Peggy that we should make art batts to sell. We have a drum carder and, after all, how hard could it be? She wasn't bitten by the core spinning bug like I was so looked at my suggestion with a bit more objectivity. We were vendors at Kid 'n Ewe in Nov. It's always on the weekend of my birthday and Peggy usually finds something wonderful there as a gift for me. This year she bought me 10 ounces of art batt - that I had to make myself.
There were bags of all sorts of fibers - soft buttery Merino, course Karakul and everything in between, Cotton and Flax and ribbon and Mohair and Silk and Sari Silk and Cashmere and Buffalo. You get the idea. I could pick anything I wanted and load it onto the drum carder. Then I could card it once or twice or three times - as much as I wanted. I finished the first batt, only carding it once, and had to go back to our booth and sit down for a rest. It was really hard work! No individual step in the process is difficult but by the time I had finished three batts, I really needed a nap. OK. So maybe my idea of making art batts and selling them was less easy than I thought. I've also looked closely at the batts I buy and the artistry that goes into making them is amazing. Colors I wouldn't put together along with fibers I wouldn't put together that all turn out perfect.
So making art batts is a job better done by someone else. But I will continue to buy them and spin them! What fun!