Place the fiber to be carded on the feed tray so that it fills the tray but not so much that it is hard to control. Different models of carders vary greatly in how much fiber they can handle at one time. A few well-opened handfuls is usually a good amount to start. Place it in a thin layer across the width of the feed tray. A drum carder may be hand-cranked or motor driven, if it is hand cranked, turn the crank while slowly pushing the fiber towards the licker-in. Do not hold back the fiber to keep it from collecting on the licker-in. Exactly how fast to feed varies with each model, the fiber should feed smoothly and not in large clumps.
It is better to go a little slow than gum up everything by going too fast. The fiber is picked up by the licker-in drum and transferred to the swift, or main drum. If the carder is hand cranked, the crank should turn without binding. If it does, then the fiber is being fed too quickly. For best results, pick the fiber open either by hand or with a mechanical picker so it is more easily caught by the licker-in and evenly distributed on the drum. The drum is full when the fiber fills the spaces between the teeth (image 3.) Remove the batt by prying it up with a strong pin or rod at the seam in the carding cloth and peeling it away.
Normally several passes are required to make the fiber ready for spinning. Tear the batt into strips that fit the feed tray and card again. Some carders work better if the batts are loosened into thin layers by hand. If you are carding a large amount of fiber, you can mix parts of different batts for a more even blend. Smaller, thinner layers feed more smoothly.
When you are finished carding, or when changing fibers, clean the drums with a stiff brush or a hand card. It is particularly important to clean the carder when switching from dark to light fibers. Also, check that the drive band or chain is not fouled with fiber. If necessary, remove it carefully.
Maximum 12 points