The Fibre Garden : Blending Boards
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We had never heard of a blending board before Spin Off magazine did an article about them back in 2012. Since that time we’ve had requests for them, and obviously so have our suppliers. Both Majacraft and Ashford are now making these, and we’re going to be carrying them for as long as there is demand.
A blending board is basically a flat board covered with carding cloth very similar to what is used on drum carders. Fibre is layed over the cloth and brushed in place using the brush provided, or a paint brush if you prefer. You can lay the fibre in exactly the way you want if for your intended end use. This is a terrific way to blend colours or to blend different types of fibres, or both! Once the board is loaded up the fibre is removed by loosening at one end and carefully pulling it off the board like a batt.
Spinners can then roll it up like a jelly-roll and create a “tube” of fibre called a rolag which is spun from one end. It can also be taken off as a batt then torn into strips and spun much like you would with a piece of roving, or the batt can be rolled from side-to-side then stretched out by hand pulling into a long piece of roving.
Felters can wet felt the batt exactly as it comes off the board, or tear it into smaller pieces for embellishment on top of a wool foundation for needle or Nuno felting projects. Larger pieces can be made by laying batts out with an overlap like shingles on a roof.
Though a blending board offers some of the same blending possibilities as a drum carder, it’s price is much lower and it stores away easily when not in use. It may give better control as well for felters doing landscape or portrait-style projects, because you can lay the fibre exactly where you want it to remain. The possibilities are endless!