Carding and Combing

Carding removes tangles in wool fibers but does not fully align the fibers so they are all going in exactly the same direction. Carding is a process of brushing clean fibers over opposing sets of short wire teeth to open and separate the fibers into a uniform mass to open, separate, and straighten the fibers. Spin woolen yarns from carded rolags for soft, lofty yarns. Combing separates out the short fibers using long, metal tines to draw the fibers through. The remaining long fibers are aligned and kept parallel as the top is pulled off the combs. Spin worsted yarn from combed top for smooth, long-wearing garments. Here at Spinning Daily we appreciate all that handspinning brings to the yarn world, and want to share our discoveries. To help you find the best in fiber preparation and spinning techniques here are some recommended resources for carding and combing.

Free Resources for Combing and Carding Fiber
Free eBook: How to Card and Comb Wool
Free <br /> Flick Carding Guide
Drumcarding Fiber
How to Comb Fiber with Minicombs
How to Card Fiber   Free Flick Carding Guide   Drumcarding   Minicombs  
How to Card and Comb Fiber
How to Card fiber
Tips for Carding and Combing
Handcard wool and fiber
Tips on combing fiber
Processing Wool   Comb Wool   How to Card Wool   Combing Fiber  
Spotlight on Handcarding

Handspinners usually explain their craft to others, starting with showing off some examples of wool they’ve spun, explaining the basics of carding; and demonstrate the actual spinning process. Not many of them, however handcard wool. While some prefer to spin from the locks using a flick or a drumcard, others buy their fibers prepared commercially. Handcarding fiber does take a long time, making it easy to understand why not all spinners handcard fiber before they spin it. Coming and carding wool is cumbersome, and doesn’t always produce easy-to-spin results. The process can also be stressful on muscles and joints in the arms and hands. Carding fiber doesn’t always have to be a burden, and in fact it can be fast and easy, and can be the key to quickly-spun and controlled woolen yarns.

Quick, efficient carding starts with clean carders and fibers. Make sure your carders are rust-free and that all the teeth are in the correct position. Adjust any misaligned teeth. Remove any fibers caught in the carders. If there are fibers left on the carders, especially greasy ones, they simply invite more to bed down with them and carding becomes even more difficult. At every step of the carding process, from selecting your fibers, to cleaning, carding, and spinning them, think light, think airy.

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