Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Drum Carding My Alpaca

Yesterday I talked about washing this lovely fiber from Mira (white) and Lyra (dark fawn) and today I will show you how I prepare it for spinning.
This is my Strauch carder which I love. I've tried others but my alpaca fiber and I like this best (although I would dearly love to put a motor on it). On the left above I've fluffed up and spread out some of the fawn fiber. Turning the red handle will pull the fiber in to the picky/pokey licker-in while the big drum with the little curved wires rotates and straightens the fiber out. I planned this batt to be in layers.

After carding the first layer of fawn in, I add a layer of white as you can see in this looking down on the carder shot. Then I layered up another fawn and another white. As the wheel is turning, the brush on top lightly presses the fleece down, but after each layer, I use an old cheap bristle brush to further compact the batt.


There is a small strip with no wires on it so that you can slide a big knitting needle or special tool like the one above to loosen and pull the fiber up.



Then using your hands and slowly turning the drum, you pull the fiber off. This came off very smoothly, probably because the staple lengths are 5 to 6 inches long.


I like to run my fleece through just once to avoid any broken pieces (noils), but if I wanted to I could divide this up and run it through again for a more blended look. I want the white and fawn separated because I think it will spin up beautifully.
Roll those little beauties up and you have gorgeous batts ready to be spun. I have enough washed up to card some more for me to spin, so I think I'll put these in my Etsy shop when I get some time. One weighs 1.6 ounces and the other is 1.8 ounces for a total of 3.4 ounces

12 comments:

HanamiGallery said...

they look great~! i think combining the two colors worked out really well. i bet it will look beautiful spun up, and i bet it feels like a dream!!

Alpaca Granny said...

Yep, it's awesomely soft because it's "baby" alpaca from the girls' first shear.

ooglebloops said...

That is so neat!! Thanks for the "tutorial"!! A neighbor is giving me her llama wool - and I was wondering how to wash it. I don't have a drum carder, but I'll wing it somehow!!!

critter Lover said...

Oh Wow, Maple, the first picture looks like carmel cotton candy and texturally delicious!!! I love the color combo!! You aren't having toooooo much fun with the new fiber are you!?

woolies said...

This makes me want to learn to spin. Or at least improve my drop spindling, which has been seriously neglected for the better part of a year.
Georgeous!

Cher said...

Wow! It's so lovely!

Crazy Lady with purple fingers said...

What beautiful fibre, just makes my fingers want to reach in and touch it, great color combo, can't wait to see it spun up. I finally got a carder with a motor on it and it sure speeds up the carding.

Michele / akkasha said...

They look lovely. I am sure they feel heavenly. Great work.

TexasRed said...

This is a great idea! Thank you for showing us the step-by-step process.

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Ahhh, Maple! Thank you so much for these posts. This is exactly what I need to do. Thanks a million for showing me how to do it. You make it seem easy. hope it is as easy when I do it. Lol.

Thanks for sharing with Fiber Arts Friday!

Lady Katherine said...

This was great! I used small drum carders and a huge electric one, I have to say I loved the electric one and missed out on a great deal on the electric one, for I was traveling working. I just love this!

Zuleika said...

So that's what carding is! Looks like fun too. :-)

Map