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Friday, May 25, 2007

Carding in Progress

Since you guys said you didn't mind seeing carding I thought I'd show some in progress shots from the second half of the Romney/Merino blend, AKA My Socks. (The first half was officially titled Mom's Socks and while we're doing full disclosure here, it was only like 2 or 3 of you that said you didn't mind seeing the carding, so now the rest of you have to suffer through it.) Above are a couple of batts: the top one is the Romney and the bottom one is Merino. The Romney began as raw fleece from a sheep named Shenandoah who lives in Baltimore (or maybe just outside Baltimore - it's hard to tell). The batt looks shorter than the Merino because the Romney wool is very bouncy and when it came off the carder it bounced back to a shorter length. The Merino batt (which was raw fleece at one point, but I never saw it like that, it was purchased as top and then dyed to match the Romney), because it started as top, doesn't have as much bounce. Before the fibers can be blended they have to be carded by themselves. Since the Romney was loose fleece it took two passes through the drumcarder to get to this point, but the Merino only took one pass since it started out as top. From this point, I will tear each batt into half and blend half a batt of Romney and half a batt of Merino. I do this by dividing each half into 4 more sections, spreading them out the full width of the drum and feeding them in in layers, alternating the types of wool. When I pull that off the carder I can actually see the layers of the two wools, so I divide that batt into fourths and recard it. This is what the batts look like after a second blending pass. They are getting close, but if I look I can still see stripes of the two different wools, they just don't look quite as stripey as they did after the first blending pass. When I did Mom's Socks, I figured out that a third blending pass made very well blended batts so these two have one more pass to go through the drum carder before they're ready to spin. You might have noticed a small bag of something sitting on top of the Merino batt in the first picture. That little bag is Angelina, which is a sparkly fiber used for blending. It's a very fine fiber, so if you use it carefully (a little sparkle goes a long way- I won't use much of that bag in this project) it won't change the hand of your yarn. This is the Opal color and I'll add some of it when I do the final pass through the carder.

Just in case anyone is wondering, Deb Menz' Color in Spinning is a great book for carding directions as well as step by step pictures of what happens when you blend. These batts could just as easily be different colors rather than different wools and the techniques I'd use to blend them would be the same. Also, if there are more experienced carders out there who see something I'm doing wrong, please feel free to let me know in the comments.



Blogger Caroline M said...

I bought a carder last Sunday, I think you pushed me over the edge. Blending is on my to do list for next week.

I had a bad Angelina experience, it tracked all through the house, into the bath, my son's bed and surfaced in one of my husband's pancakes. I don't play with that any more (mine also had the colour wash out in the first sock wash)

7:32 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Wow, Caroline, that doesn't sound good..

Melanie, if you don't mind, let me know how your Angelina turns out as I've been looking at buying some myself. :-)

I LOVE how smooth that Merino is!

Note to self: Color in spinning...must buy. ;-)

7:38 AM  
Blogger Carissa said...

The carding looks great! I got a drumcarder just over a month ago, and I love carding and blending too. Have fun with the Angelina, it adds great sparkle!

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great carding information. I really like how your batts are coming out. And thanks for the information on blending fibers on the carder. I'm seriously considering getting a carder and every little bit of info is appreciated. I have Deb Menz's book and it is wonderful.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so impressed with this whole thing! I had no idea you could do much of anything on this blog, except knit. I always look to see what is happening and sometimes I don't really understand what is going on, but other times, like today, I'm just impressed! The fiber-challenged sister-in-law, Mindy

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole carding and spinning thing is so interesting to me. I had a chance to see 3 different homespun yarns the other night and I was wowed. I have never spun yarn and reading your blog is so interesting. You make it sound simple the way you describe everything. Does it all take alot of time? I imagine all the carding then spinning must take hours.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my sock fleece Wed. afternoon, and it is GREAT! I am impressed and thrilled.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

That color is just *so* gorgeous!

12:27 AM  

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