Get Blending!

This week, we have a special guest on the Louet Blog: Constance Hall of Dyeology! Constance shared her thoughts on one of our newest products for fiber artists, the Louet Blending Board

The Louet Blending Board

Louet has a long tradition of making tools for spinners: their new blending board is an updated version of one they produced about 25 years ago. Back then, it was called a carding board, and it had coarse teeth and a rolling pin which made it almost more of a drum carder. Today they have created a new blending board which is very user-friendly; it’s a fun tool for spinners and felters!

Louet’s original blending board, on which our new Blending Board is based!

The Louet Blending Board has an attractive birch plywood base. It has a working surface of about 12 x 12 inches and a total size of 12 1/2 by 15 inches. There is a carry handle on top, and it comes with two dowel rods and a soft bristle brush. The carding cloth is 72 teeth per inch, which is a good moderate teeth per inch ratio that allows the board to be used with a wide variety of fibers. You can pack quite a good amount of fiber onto the teeth, which are 3/8″ deep. I have used everything from angora to romney on the board and the 72 tip has worked quite well!

A great feature is the adjustable keel, for which there are many possible adjustments. There are rubber feet on the back so that if it is flat, without the keel attached, it won’t shift around and on the table. If using the keel, there are three spots for the bolt to screw into and a long bolt that goes through the keel into the board. I really like the easy-to-use bolt with a finger-friendly loop on the top. No tools are needed to loosen the bolt and allow the keel to move, and the keel can rotate so the board can be set at any angle.

The keel can be placed into the three different spots depending on how you want to use it: If I am using it to prop on a table, I move the keel to the top spot. Sometimes I want the carding teeth to go sideways so that I can blend the fiber from side to side instead of top to bottom. It is easy to loosen the bolt and turn the keel sideways and move it to the center hole. This is also the spot where I put the keel if I am using it on my lap. Usually I have the keel in the center hole and turned sideways. Then the keel can go between my legs and I can easily blend the fiber side to side.

The board can be used for blending fibers to make rolags, making batts and preparing different fibers for spinning. This tool is a boon for felters also: due to the size, it provides a big canvas to make batts for use as felting base or to make pre-felts. While the board will not replace my hand cards, I think it is a great addition to my tool box!

 

Going Batty: Drum Carders

Drumcarders are to spinners what KitchenAid mixers are are to bakers.  The joy of spinning with a custom batt is akin to the joy of eating that perfected cupcake recipe.   Frida Åberg of Friday Studio demonstrates this nicely in her You Tube video showing how she makes a blended batt on her Louet Roving Carder. It demonstrates the cozy relationship between a spinner and her batt maker.

At Louet, we have been making drum carders for a long time. Over the years we have developed a close relationship with the spinning community.  Last year, we resonded to your request to shorten the teeth on the carding cloth to make the carding process easier.  Every time we change a product or introduce changes, we have it carefully tested.  Our carders are tested by well-loved author, artist, and spinner Deb Menz who wrote the helpful booklet that comes with your carder.

Last year, we introduced the Elite Carder. A highly versatile carder, we made it with the batt maker that pushes the envelope in mind. It makes creating custom blended batts that are filled with an array of textures, fibers, and colors a breeze. Features that spinners really like, are the two feed speeds that allow you to introduce a wide variety of fibers with ease and the long feel-in tray that allows you to stage fiber in the order that you want to use them, increasing your efficiency.  That is just two of the features that the Elite Carder has to offer.  There are many more!

Whether you are new to drum carding or have been at it for decades we have a carder that will work just for you. And, of course, we have a wide variety of fibers for you to choose from to make just that just-right blend batt for your next project.  Stay tuned, as we give you more tips and tricks for using the drumcarder.  If you have any questions feel free to post!