Blending Fibers at the Pin Drafter
We will only spiral blend additions into healthy, easy to process animal fibers.
This page is all about how and what we can do with blending non animal fibers into the pin drafted rovings. For details about what the pin drafting machine is (and is not) please see the processing options page Processing.
Since we can only card animal fibers at the carder, any blending with non animal fibers such as silks, Firestar, hemp, tencel, nylon or cellulose is done here. These added fibers will be streaked or striped thru the pin drafted rovings and will not be thoroughly blended with the animal fiber. Creating these blends is not a simple task. The added fibers must already be in a well aligned roving form. We break the thicker (silk) roving into approximately six foot lengths. Then each of these lengths are split lengthwise into as many very fine strands as the addition (silk) will separate into; yet staying even. If the addition (silk) has any uneven strands or is at all disturbed and not aligned then separating it is very difficult and very time consuming. We then hand feed these thin pieces thru the pin drafter with 2 or 3 animal fiber roving strands creating a continuous length of pin drafted roving with one stripe of the addition (silk). Then we make between 4 and 6 strands from the single strand of PD. These are ran through the pin drafted again along with 2 more strands of the animal fiber roving. This creates a pin drafted roving with between 4 and 6 thin strands of the added fiber (silk).
Years ago, when I started making these with my own fibers for selling in my retail store, I would only create them with a very easy to card and easy to pin draft animal fiber. In other words: a good staple length, crimpy and clean. In order to be feeding the addition (silk) at pin drafting, the animal fiber needs to be combing perfectly and not be a high maintenance fiber. I could not determine this until that fleece was already carded and proven to be smooth in processing. I also only used the additions, silk or Firestar or hemp or whatever, that were easily separated into 6 foot lengths. So making these for myself with my own hand selected fibers made them somewhat simple to create. However, customers have seen or have purchased these from me and then ask me to do these blends with their fibers and this is where the problems arise. Sometimes they send me silk or Firestar or whatever from their own stash that is not well aligned or is a bunch of short pieces or was mangled during dyeing. Separating these into a useable material and then hand feeding them can become very laborious and time consuming. This, on top of an animal fiber that requires extra attention can make this spiral blending a big expensive mess. Clearly this method is not good for the business nor the customer. So we needed to make some changes here.
We will only spiral blend additions into healthy, easy to process animal fibers. I retain the right to reject any additions that do not separate easily into the proper thickness and length. We can no longer create spiral blends with set coil weights. The new pricing for just doing the pin draft blending will be $16 per pound.