Carding

Color blending for a heather yarn
I used .4 ounces each of raspberry and elderberry dyed Cormo for each batt.
 Blending fibers is an enjoyable process for me, and there's nothing I like better than color blending.  I had a large Cormo fleece which I dyed raspberry and elderberry and then picked and teased to get ready for blending.  I wanted a heathered yarn and decided to do a 50/50 blend of these two rich colors.  You can use any ratio you want, and it is fun to play with ratios to see different affects.  I weighed out .4 ounces of each since I've found .8 ounces of fiber is a good amount to card on my particular carder.
I alternated running small teased bits of colored fiber on the first run through the carder.

For carding, I took the teased locks and fed them into the machine in alternate small bits to enhance the blending on the first round.  All the handwork preparing these fibers was delightful because this Cormo fleece was wonderfully soft.  I know some knitters who swoon over Malebrigo yarn because of its softness--if you really want to enjoy luxury, sink your hands in a bag of freshly teased Cormo.  It is wonderful!
For this project, I did a second pass through the carder, just enough carding to give a nice batt, but not blend the colors too much.  I wanted to be able to still see bits of the original color as I spun the fiber.  The more times through the carder, the more blended it is.   Below, I set one of my twice through batts (left) next to a three times through batt.  The color is much more blended in the one on the right, and the resulting yarn would be more uniform in terms of color.  I wouldn't get the splotches of color I want in the yarn.

I did a second pass by pulling thin strips off the first-run batt and sending them through again.
 If you want to spin a yarn with the effect found from one pass through, you may want to card each color separately once before blending them to get a nicer batt. I should also note that I have a handheld tool I run over the large drum while carding that acts as a second drum, giving more nicely carded batt with only two passes then I would otherwise get.  I bought this tool on the recommendation of Susan at Susan's Fiber Shop in Wisconsin, from whom I purchased my Patrick Greene Deb's Delicate Deluxe.  She is very knowledgeable about carding and combing.
The batt to the left went through two times and the one on the right three. You can see the one on the right is more blended.

So that is a short course on creating a heathered yarn! Happy spinning!

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