How to make a striped art batt on a drum carder

Hello!  I’ve been busy busy busy dyeing between the Mystery Shawl Along, and getting ready for Sheep in the City (which is next week already, yikes!).  I’ve also been making batts while the skeins of Zephyr for the shawl along have been rewinding (1200 yards at speed slow…..zzzzzzzzzz).  I’m particularly proud of these (so much so that I made a set for myself), and thought I would share how I made them.

Here’s the starting materials…..a pile of wool in two shades of purple, a bit of black, and a shiny streak of mohair.

Hand Dyed Wool and Mohair to Card

The first task is to divide this pile into the number of batts I want to do.  I’m using my Big Tom drum carder by Fancy Kitty, and it can make batts of 2-3 ounces pretty comfortably, so after weighing I decided to make 3 batts.


I started by eyeballing it, and then finished up by weighing each and evening out.


So here’s the content of one of those tubs.  A large pile of dark purple, a streak of black, a silky bundle of mohair, a medium pile of pale purple, and a few bits of dark purple with blue streaks.  I don’t want to lose the contrast between these, so I’m going to put all these on the carder…one pass and that is it.


Here’s my pattern.  I planned the stripes based on the proportions of materials I have.  I fed each strip in separately, if you want to feed all in at the same time, you really need to get the fiber fluffed and feed thin bits.  Otherwise the swift will grab all these strips and once and yank them whole off the licker.  Not pretty.  I could feed them one at a time as shown, though, and the carder did a marvelous job of carding and distributing the fibers.


Here’s after a bit of feeding in.  You will note that there isn’t much overlap.  I have to correct this, since the batt won’t stay together if the different stripes don’t meet each other.  I have limited black, so I decided to overlap the adjacent stripes over it, and add the black in intervals so it is through the batt.  It’ll make a nicer blend when spun that way.


Once I was near the end of my fiber, I added the mohair in one even layer.  I wanted it near the top layer for the shine, but in enough that it’d be easy to spin and keep the mohair fairly evenly distributed.


Another light layer of my stripes, and here’s the batt ready to come off the carder.


To give you some perspective on how large these batts are, I’ve included a 12 inch ruler in the picture.



I did the same with the remaining two bins, and here’s all three batts together.  And I had a bunch of lace yarn rewound and ready to ship.  Yay for multi-tasking!


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12 Responses to How to make a striped art batt on a drum carder

  1. Saffron says:

    Gorgeous! Love the black stripe!!! Very fitting 🙂

  2. Pearle says:

    What lovely colours. Thank you for sharing your knowlage:-)

  3. mary says:

    How did you make your batt look so smoother off the carder? Mine looks kind of “fluffy” where your’s looks so smooth.
    Thank you,
    P.S. Nice tutorial and beautiful batts

    • The smoothness of your batt will depend on your carder, and the fiber you are carding. In the case of those particular batts, I was using non-fluffy fiber, and burnishing quite a bit. I’m carding some Romney that I processed myself right now, and the batts are coming off VERY fluffy.

  4. Mary says:

    I appreciate that and have carded lots of fiber, both wool and alpaca. The picture of the fiber coming off the carder looks like mine. But the picture below that the fiber looks smooth and sleek. I too burnish often while making a batt to ensure smoothness and I have a Patrick Green with small, fine teeth for a smooth batt. Thanks for your response.

  5. Nickolene says:

    I love your batts! I have a big Tom too. How many TPI are your licker in and swift drums? Beautiful!

  6. sharon says:

    first of all your batt looks wonderful..
    A while ago i was deciding what kind of carder to buy. i have been using a borrowed Luet and like it. i thought an electric carder would certainly make things more efficient. in the end i purchased a PG triple carder & picker. the picker i love! the electric carder turns out to be too much carder for me. with time i’ve relized i really want to make art batts which the triple carder can’t do. it was suggested i buy an electric Luet. has anyone used this type. i know there now is a carder made especially for art batts. i don’t think it is electric. does anyone have a suggestion?

    thank you,

  7. Talia Sommer says:

    Love your batts. I have a question for you. Do you find yourself changing the licker-in speed a lot or do you keep it the same? I am asking as I am deciding to change my order of a Little Tom to a Big Tom. Thank you in advance. 🙂

    • That’s a good question. I tend to play with the licker speed at the beginning, watching between the drums until I think it is carding it smoothly. Then I leave it. Honestly, while it is kinda nice to have the infinite control on both drums, it isn’t necessary for the types of things I’ve been carding. I got the Big Tom just because it is motorized, and is a larger drum than the Kitty. I like having both hands free to tease and place fiber, or to have better control when putting things like silk directly on the drum. It also helps with my patience, since I can set it slow, start it feeding, and do another task while the carder works on what is on the tray.

  8. Pingback: Fancy Kitty’s Big Tom or Little Tom? | Kneyda Spins

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