Posts tagged ‘drum carder’

A while back I started messing with some swap fiber I didn’t know what to do with. I still don’t, but I’m pressing on and now making yarn I don’t know what to do with. Some person will undoubtedly be getting a gift before this is over. But I need to stop with the acrylic baby knitting for a while and go back to a fiber that has some connection to an actual organic substance.

I took the carded multi-color single and plied it with two more of carded black Merino. I’d been looking for something not so fine, a better match for the original fiber, but then Paradise Fibers had a sale. I hand carded a little to do this sample:

black, purple and green yarn

I’m not totally thrilled with the black because I don’t like how mill-processed Merino top handles. Dampening it and letting it dry might improve it, but I’m too lazy to go that far. The fiber is also a little too long to draft well as a woolen. I’m always a little reluctant to make something that I’m not completely in love with from the beginning, but it will look and feel a lot different when it’s done. And I would never wear anything with chartreuse anyway, so I don’t have to get attached to it. It’s supposed to be an experiment.

Right now I’m in the middle of carding the 160g of black to go with the 80g of single already spun. Even if it weren’t too long to nicely hand card, I’d do it on the drum carder because there is so much to do and no concern for maintaining distinct colors. Carding commercial top is not as easy as one might imagine, it’s very dense. Just like Merino fleece, you have to open it up a lot to get good results. But it doesn’t handle like fleece, it acts more like fiber with almost no crimp.

I thought I had posted this picture already, but no. I’m almost done with the first half of the wool/silk, I’ve decided to make a 2-ply weaving yarn. I’ve got plenty of the natural color wool to go with it. The silk has some noils in it and I didn’t want to try to use it as warp without plying, so I’ll just do all of it the same.

blue/brown wool-silk blend

I’m picking out some of the larger lumps from the silk, but mostly just spinning. Normally I want perfectly smooth yarn but the haphazardly dyed silk just isn’t going to let that happen and I have to get over it. I split the batts into strips and pulled each into a long roving. After all that I wonder if it really is faster to drum card than comb, but I would have never gotten the same color blend that way.

The finished fiber is about 170g, enough for a small project. I made two color layered batts because I wanted a high contrast blend that would survive being spun fine and plied and not be totally a solid color by the time I was done. I have no idea what I will do with the yarn, so I went with a somewhat less adventurous color. One of my other possible choices was magenta.

The fleece has been sitting around for years, it came from South Australia and is some sort of Corriedale cross. I sorted out the rest by color and length but this stuff was shorter. I don’t even know where all the silk came from, other than several years of spinning workshops. For now it’s going back into the fiber closet because I still have some Merino to finish spinning.

Started with this pile of fleece (plus a little of plain white)

random natural color fleece bits

and this collection of workshop samples

silk top odds and ends

a little blue dye and a lot of carding later:

blue and brown wool and silk batts

I spent most of the day with the drum carder. Last week I pulled out several small bags of fleece to blend together and this morning decided I didn’t have enough. So out comes the collection of workshop samples and other odds and ends and between all the different kinds of silk I have enough to do something. Gold tussah, bleached tussah, bombyx multiple sources and a few wool/silk blends. I left some of the larger amounts for another project and took all the bits and stuck them in some blue dye.

While the color was steam-setting (three hours!) I started preparing the base fiber. I set aside the lightest color wool to blend with the silk. The wool was all combed out in the staple with a dog brush and then carded, the wool blend took three passes and the silk five (because it was all clumped together after being dyed.) Now the gray-brown and blue batts are ready, tomorrow I just have to do the final layered blend of the two.

There is probably about 200g of fiber, enough for socks and a hat or a large scarf. I’m thinking I’ll do 3-ply sock yarn and then see what I feel like making. The yarn should come out a tweedy blue-gray. I’ll have pictures later.

More in the saga of the carder swap. With the other one off to its new home, I have the Fricke Petite. I wanted to give it a go before I committed to buying, on the off chance there was something about this particular model that totally irritated me. Well, as expected, now one of my chores for this weekend is figure out where I put the checkbook.

This model is intended for occasional use, which is fine with me. Since it takes so long to spin fine yarn, fiber prep only happens occasionally anyway and I’m certainly not getting rid of the combs. The key feature (and why I almost never used the other carder) is the ability to card fine wool. I will likely one day still get the DDD but this is quite serviceable for what I expect to do over the next couple years. It’s also smaller and less expensive. As much as I love Pat Green equipment, it doesn’t fit into my city life all that well.

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