The purpose of Hand Carding is to disentangle, separate, clean, straighten and blend fibers together for spinning into yarn. Carding is a type of woolenpreparation, where air is introduced between the fibers and can be trapped as you spin, resulting in a loftier yarn. The tools used are called Hand Cards. Hand carders look a bit like hair brushes, and consist of two wooden paddles with sheets of fine metal teeth that brush out the fibers. Carding opens up locks of fiber and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other. Carded fibers are generally shorter, with longer and shorter fibers mixed together, and not completely smooth and even. The result is a batt or rolag of lofty fiber that can them more easily be spun into yarn.
The Hand Cards available in our Online Store are made in the USA, by Strauch Fiber Equipment. Watch the video below to see how to use them.
You may want to check out a great article on how to properly and efficiently use hand cards called “Care & Feeding of Handcards” from the Earth Guild in Asheville, NC.
For a great class on fiber preparation, check out How To Prepare Wool For Spinning. It is a Craftsy online class that you can watch at your convenience, and go back to when ever you want. See more Spinning Classes here.
Strauch Fiber Equipment not only makes quality products, in the USA I might add, but they provide quality support, tutorials, and helpful advice. They have a number of helpful videos, this being one of them, to help you use and enjoy their products. Watch Otto Strauch’s video on his technique to remove all of the fiber from the large drum, useful when you want to prevent contamination of the next batt.
According to Otto, “Because of the fineness of the carding cloth, there will always be fiber left on the drum after you pull off your batt. The amount of fiber left is usually the same quantity. So if you’re only putting on a small amount, say one-tenth of an ounce, percentage wise, a lot of it will remain on the drum. If you fill the drum with one ounce of fiber, the same amount stays on but the percentage of fiber coming off will be much greater.
Cleaning out this fiber after each batt removal is too time consuming. So, here’s what I do: After the first batt is removed, I leave the left-over fiber on the drum. I then card another batt, remove it and card the third batt. Keep doing this until you’ve made the number of batts your looking for. Now clean off the fiber still on the drum. I don’t clean the drum until I am either finished using the carder, or switching to carding a different color or type of fiber.
If you are dealing only with a small amount of fiber and need to get it all off at one time, here’s the technique I use. It’s illustrated on a one minute video entitled “Removing all the fiber at one time from the large drum”. As you watch it you’ll see how the doffer brush is used to remove all the fiber on the drum while pulling off the batt. (The doffer brush is the brush that came with your carder and used to clean off the large drum)”.