Fiber Preparation

Beginner’s Series: Wool – Part 4

Batts, Slivers, Tops, Rovings, Clouds, what on earth do these all mean? How’s a spinner supposed to know what they want with all these choices? Thankfully, learning what each of these styles gives you (and how to spin from them) is not as hard as it looks.



This is my personal favorite to spin from. It’s so nice and smooth, and spins easily. Roving can be spun short or long draw. It’s kind of your basic format. The individual fibers are laying straight, side by side with each other, which allows you to spin a very smooth yarn.


This looks like roving, but the fibers aren’t aligned quite as nicely, giving you a little lumpier yarn.


This looks like top and roving, but the fibers are a little different.

Yes, I know. It’s crazy. I have yet to wrap my brain around the differences, and I practically never see sliver for sale in the places I look.



This is my second favorite spinning weapon. They’re so light and fluffy! You make a batt on a drum carder. And to spin it you just peel a piece off, fluff it up a bit, and spin. I prefer using the long draw style with batts. They behave better that way. In most batts the fibers are not quite as nicely aligned as in roving, lending itself to a fuzzier yarn.



This is what you get when you hand card. It’s a little roll of the fiber you’ve carded. You can either roll it the way she shows in the video, or, like I’ve started doing, roll it from side to side so all the tips are at one end and the bottoms at the other. This works perfectly when I turn it into homemade roving. With a rolag, you can either spin directly from it by grabbing one end of the roll and drafting from there (like you’re pulling the filling out of a twinkie), or you can draft the whole thing out into a homemade roving and spin from that. I can’t find the original video that I learned this from, but I shall try to locate it or create my own.


I’ve never spun from this personally. No, wait. I have, but it wasn’t wool. It’s basically a pile of lots of fluffed up loose hairs sticking every which-a-way. The only way you can sanely spin from this is with a long draw. (If any of you readers have mastered short draw from a cloud, please tell me how you managed it.)

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