Blending board is a bit of a misnomer as such there is some confusion that a blending board can be a substitute for hand cards or a drum carder. There is some overlapping between the three products, but not much. A blending board cannot open up fibers that have not already been prepared in some manner. It also cannot remove vegetable matter, or VM, from fibers that have not already been cleaned. Fibers need to be teased open or processed in some manner before they can be used on the board. Also, fibers cannot be mixed into a homogenous blend as there is no movement of the fiber once it is placed on the board.
It is easier to think of a blending board as a layering or mixing board. Blending boards are very good for creating layers of fiber and color to create interesting effects in the finished yarn. Self striping yarn is very easy to spin from fiber mixed on a blending board. Colors can be laid out in stripes along the board then rolled off of the board into a rolag*. The rolag can be spun from the end and each color will come off of the prep one at a time with some blending between color changes to create a nice transition from one color to the other. Blending boards are also very good at creating chunky and textured rolags from fibers that would not normally blend well together. It is also a great way to use up left over bits and bobs of fiber that would be difficult to use otherwise.
A pseudo mixing effect can be created on a blending board by making very thin layers of different fibers and sandwiching them together. Because the fibers aren’t mixed, but only layered, a spinner has to be very careful when spinning the fibers as to prevent each layer from spinning separately, particularly if there is a pronounced difference in the lengths of the fibers used.
Blending boards are differentiated between size of the blending surface, teeth per inch, and materials used to create the board. The differences between the blending boards we carry are below.
Ashford: This blending board has a large 12” x 12” blending area and it has a removable and rotatable stand to put the board at an angle while using. This board includes a blending brush and dowels. The carding cloth is 108 TPI and the board has a handle on top to carry it easily.
Clemes & Clemes: This board is made of cherry wood and has a 11” x 11” blending area with 72 TPI. It has has a removable stand and a handle at the top of the board. It comes with a brush and dowel.
Louet: This board has a 30cm x 30cm (11.8 inches square) blending area with 72 TPI. There is a removable and rotatable keel that has three locations it can mount to the board. It comes with two dowels and a brush. There is a handle at the top of the board.
Majacraft: This board has a 8.3” wide by 11.8” long blending area with 72 TPI cloth. The ends of the carding cloth are covered with caps to prevent any fraying of the carding cloth and keeps the fiber from snagging on the cut ends. This board has a removable stand, handle at the top of the board, fiber brush, and two dowels.
*A fiber prep that is rolled off of the board and onto a dowel and spun from the end of the tube. This creates a woolen style yarn.