Sunday, March 17, 2013

How not to Card Wool - First attempts gone wrong

For Christmas, Keith gave me some lovely chinchilla rabbit fiber.  This fiber has been unprocessed, and I can not spin it as is.  It will either need some carding or even some blending before I can attempt to spin it into yarn.  This means that I need some carders.

There are many types of carders, and I went to the Woolery website to figure out what I should get.  I finally decided on "Howard Brush, Standard, 190 TP" because of the following information about carding cloths:  "Extra Fine: 190-255 teeth per square inch. For ALL fibers, especially very fine varieties. Can be used for Cotton, Merino, Llama, Alpaca, Cashmere, Dog Hair and other exotics."  In addition to the chinchilla fiber, I know that I have some dog fur that I will eventually want to spin.  (I also have some raw cotton from my wonderful gift.)  Therefore, I settled on the extra fine carders. 

When my carders arrived, I wanted to see how intuitive they were to use.  I decided to test them out before looking up how to actually use them (yeah, I'm a little stupid.)

So I learned a few things things:

  1. Carding Hurts.   Without noticing, I scratched myself up pretty badly.
  2. I have no idea what I'm doing.   The end result doesn't look any more ordered than what I started with (which admittedly wasn't raw wool.)
  3. So I tried again...

  4. They turned the fiber grey... (I asked on Ravelry and this is normal for new carders.  People recommended using waste fiber or dark fiber with new carders until the discoloration goes away.)  

It is time for a time out to look up some Carding Resources.  It was stupid to try this out while having no idea what I was doing!  

Carding Resources:

The first video shows how wrong I was doing it. I was not pulling with the carders in the opposite direction, I had them in the same direction! No wonder the wool transferred almost immediately.

 The second video show that I should not engage the teeth quite so much, but move them gently across one another.  Biggest mistake you make when you hand card? I did that one! (Globbing the fiber onto the carder)

Difference between Rolag, Top, & Roving... I'm not sure I can recognize the difference between different fiber preparations, but It is still really helpful to know (and to know what to expect from doing my own fiber preparation).  I wish the article had pictures.

The following illustrates some of the confusion I had over carding vs combed top (which is actually more like the "rovings" I've had)

Blending fiber, but also turning hand carded fibers into a roving (i'm not sure if this is the correct terminology... but it looks good!)

Wish me luck when I decide to give carding another chance.  I am going to wait for my fingers to heal first...