How To Use Hand Cards

The purpose of Hand Carding is to disentangle, separate, clean, straighten and blend fibers together for spinning into yarn.  Carding is a type of woolen preparation, 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.

All-hand-cards-together

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.

How To Prepare Wool For Spinning

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.

How To Use A Ball Winder and Swift

Anyone that plays with yarn will be interested in two great tools, a Swift and a Ball Winder.

Swift                  Ball Winder

Otto and Joanne Strauch, owners of Strauch Fiber Equipment and makers of fine tools for spinners, demonstrate how to make a center-pull ball using these two must-have tools.

Sit-n-Knit or Crochet or Spin

For those of you that live in our area, you are invited to come visit and just …

Just Sit-n-Knit or Crochet or Spin

Just Sit-n-Knit or Crochet or Spin

Come hang out with fiber friends!  Drop in the first Saturday of the month for a few relaxing hours of knitting or crocheting or spinning on the farm. Lessons are not provided, but beginners are always welcome. If you bring your needles and yarn, drop spindle or wheel, someone will usually be able to answer your questions and offer a helping hand.

As I was reflecting on the importance of spending time with friends and doing things we enjoy, I ran across a blog called The Happy Migrant.  She writes:

10 Reasons why making new friends is important

1. Laughter – Laughter really is medicine and time spent with friends will often result in laughter.

2. Inspiration – Spending the day with friends is inspirational. Your friends will always have inspiring words for you.

3. Support – Your friends are your biggest support. Your friends support you in your decisions, through the tough times and through the exciting times.

4. Guidance – Your friends are like your guardian angels, offering you guidance when you need it the most.

5. Fun – Spending time with friends is fun. In today’s world we can take life a bit too seriously so some fun time is a requirement to breaking the serious pattern.

6. Relaxation – Spending times with friends can be relaxing. Even if you are walking around all day shopping, there is still an element of relaxation when you are with good friends.

7. Encouragement – Friends give you encouragement to follow your dreams because they believe in you.

8. Courage – Friends give you courage to be who you really are.

9. Strength – Your friends can give you a feeling of inner strength that you never knew you had.

10. Love – When you spend time with good friends, you feel loved and so do they.

Good friends are valuable. We need to look after our friends, nurture them, listen to them and be there when they need us. If you look back at the best and worst times of your life your friends were there.

Make some time to get out and meet some new friends
it is such an important part of life.

Plying With Beads

  Although stringing the beads was a bit challenging, and manipulating my single fiber strand without getting it tangled in the strung beads during the playing process could have made me crazy, I was very pleased with the end results!

 These are the hand-dyed Suri Locks that I started with. 

 I spun carelessly from uncarded locks not worrying about any kind of uniformity.  I felt like a kid going out to recess, playtime!

 Once I got a rhythm going and coordinated pushing a bead forward when  I was ready for one, the plying flowed smoothly.

Louet Spinning Wheels

I used my Louet Spinning Wheel, versus my little electric spinner, because I needed to stop and start frequently.  My Louet gave me the control I needed without having to turn it off and on.

 I named it, as I do all my yarns, “Pretty As A Princess”.

Stefanie Berganini has written some good instructions on spinning this kind of artyarn- click Plying With Beads

on the Spin-Off Magazine website.

This looks like a book I ought to have!

My New Yarn

So, here is where it all starts, with happy, healthy alpacas!
Stress does affect fiber quality – see the smiles on these two? Meet Unlimited Joy and Ariella!  There are two different breeds of alpacas, suri and huacaya, and the difference is their fleece.  A suri’s fleece grows vertically to the ground, in dreadlocks, and will grow clear to the ground if not shorn.  A huacaya has more of a teddy bear look and their fleece grows horizontal away from their bodies.  I think of a suri as being majestic and a huacaya as cute!
Huacaya Fleece
Suri Fleece
In the Dye Pot with Gaywool Dye
Carded
Carding is the process of combing and blending fibers together – an art form in itself.  This is a blend of hand dyed suri and natural brown huacaya.
Rovings Wound Into A Ball for Spinning
Hand Spun Into A Single Ply Yarn
Finished Two-Ply Yarn – Food For The Soul!

How To Spin From A Batt

Say, you’ve bought a carder and you are carding your own fiber. You doff it off the drum and now you have a large mass. Now what?  This mass you just created would be called a batt, but how does one spin it? I found this Photo Tutorial on Flickr that might be helpful. There are other ways but this is a good beginning.

How To Spin From A Batt, originally uploaded by afranquemont.

For the detailed info, you’ll want to go through the set, How To Spin From A Batt, in sequence. There are notes on the photos, and descriptive text.



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