Sunday, April 24, 2016

Card a Gradient Batt
By Mary Egbert


There are many ways to card a batt and it’s no different for a gradient technique.  I will show you one way that allows for some nice color blending. So get out your fiber and color wheel and join me.

Getting started

This particular batt was made from raw merino wool.  You don’t have to start from that point, in fact you can start with a commercially dyed combed top or dyed fiber you bought from a store.
It doesn’t matter where the fiber comes from, but what does matter in regards to a gradient batt is color choices.  Let’s take a closer look at color theory and the reasoning behind what colors we choose.
Color choices
Let’s think about color blending for a moment.  If you put yellow and red dye or paint together it makes orange.  It’s no different on a carder.  When you blend yellow and red fibers together the eye will perceive the color orange even though the fibers are still distinctly yellow and red.  And what’s pretty cool is if you start with three colors you may end with up to six at the end. For instance I used shades of yellow, red and blue. You can see hints of oranges and purples due to the blending of colors on the carder.  

  1. Primary Colors

Primary colors are the three colors that make up every color on earth.  
  1. Secondary Colors

When you combine two of  these colors, whether it’s dye or on a carder, the color changes to another color.  
Red + blue = violet
Red + yellow = orange
Yellow + blue = green.  

Tertiary colors

And when you combine secondary colors you get tertiary colors.
So the theory of color and blending is to put colors side by side that will turn into another desirable color.  Some colors side by side will produce brown, such as orange + blue, purple + yellow and and red + green.  These colors are complimentary to each other. Or if you mixed all the colors together you will also get a shade of brown.   
Here is a nifty little program where you can “pre-mix” colors before you put them on your carder and see if they will work for what you have in your mind’s eye.  If you are going to work with color I highly recommend you purchase a book on color theory to understand color basics a bit more.  Here is a nice little online explanation that can get you started  Here is a neato video also showing color theory.  Click here to view video

Let’s get started
For this particular batt I washed, dyed, ran the fiber through a triple picker and carded it. Here are the photos of the process just up until I started to card.  I ran this  merino through a picker because I feel that opening up the fiber produces  a smoother batt and that’s what I was going for.

Out of the dye pot.jpg

picked with triple picker.jpg

First Carding Run
To achieve the gradient effect I first carded each color one by one on top of the other. I ended up with layers of color.

Second Carding Run
I took off the batt and stripped it into four length-wise pieces.  I took each piece and turned it on it’s side with yellow on the left.  I then carded each piece one by one to create the gradient effect.  



Gradient carding can be loads of fun and the possibilities of colors and textures are endless.  You can spin this from one end to the other creating a gradient yarn or spin it  fractal for a colorful blended yarn.
Have fun and post a pic of your gradient batt on my FB page so I can “ooooh and ahhhh” it.

Mary Egbert


  1. This is great info! I'm going to try it with some fleece from my monthly box! I really appreciate the forwarding addresses for the sites with color information. Thank you!

  2. This is great info! I'm going to try it with some fleece from my monthly box! I really appreciate the forwarding addresses for the sites with color information. Thank you!

  3. No drum carder yet. Now I need to figure out how to do this with my hackle and comb or hand carders.

  4. Yes great little demo & info, we all appreciate it!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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