This step in the yarn making process is one of my favorites!
There is something so cool about taking a raw fleece, and turning it into a fluffy smooth pile all ready for the spinning wheel.
I am going to be doing a picture tutorial of two different methods of carding wool today.
First, the most basic method: Hand Carding.
These two little tools are perfect for hand carding wool. I prefer to use these for small amounts of wool, but you can also use them to card larger amounts. It will just take a while, and be more of an ongoing project, rather than something you do in an hour or so. You can also use dog brushes to card, but I definitely prefer the quality carding job that these hand carders produce.
You will need your dry, washed, raw wool. (See here for details on washing raw wool.)
Place a SMALL amount of wool on one of the carding brushes. (I had a little too much here, and ended up removing about a 1/3 of it)
Place the brushes bristle side together, with the handles facing opposite directions.
Firmly grasp the handles, and pull the brushes away from each other. It will look something like this.
Repeat these three steps until the fibers are all smoothed out and fluffy like this.
Remove the wool from the brushes, and stack it in a pile.
That’s it! Hand carding is simple, but a bit time consuming, so next, I will show you the method I use for carding the majority of my wool.
This is a must for anyone who is carding large amounts of wool. It speeds up the process by a HUGE amount, and yields nice large sheets of carded wool.
One of the reasons I love my drum carder is that it is much more efficient, but I still get a nice little workout using it!
For this method, you will need:
Slowly feed your clean raw wool into the bottom of the carder while you crank the handle. The key is to not feed too much at one time, or turn the handle too furiously.
Continue feeding the wool until you have filled the large drum with carded wool. Make sure you fill it evenly across the drum, so you maximize the efficiency of the carder.
See how it takes all the different color variations in the wool, and blends them together? How awesome is that?
Once you have filled the drum with carded wool, locate the space that is free of bristles. This is your cutting line. On my drum carder, there is a nice wooden divet that guides your scissors in a straight line across the drum.
Using your sewing scissors, cut the fibers at this line.
Once you have cut across the entire drum, use one of your hand carders to pull the wool away from the bristles. Slowly turn the handle of the carder, and continue to use the carding brush to pull away the wool until the entire sheet of carded wool is off the drum. Always pull WITH the direction of the bristles, or you will end up with a big mess. 🙂
Here is a sheet of wool that has been through the carder 1 time. You want to put the wool through at LEAST 2 times, maybe more, depending on how rough your raw wool is to start with.
To card it a second time, you simply slowly feed the sheet of wool into the carder again.
From top to bottom:
Raw washed wool, carded 1x, and carded 2x.
Once you have the wool to your desired consistency, pile up the sheets of carded wool, and place them in a plastic or cloth bag for storage until you are ready to begin spinning.
A couple things to keep in mind while carding wool:
- The wire bristles are very sharp, so be careful not to cut yourself. This applies to either method of carding! (speaking from experience here…)
- It is a slightly dirty process, so if possible, take it outside. I like to do mine on the porch. Here is the pile of dirt and wool that I had underneath my drum carder after I finished.
So now, you have the steps to turn your raw wool:
Into a big pile of lovely carded wool!
This post has been shared at The Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Monday, Tuesdays With a Twist, The Backyard Farming Connection, The Homestead Blog Hop, Down Home Blog Hop, The Home Acre Hop, Simple Lives, Link and Mingle, The Pin Junkie, Freedom Fridays, From the Farm Hop, Old Fashioned Fridays, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Clever Chicks, Mommy Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, and The Art of Homemaking.