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