Drumcarding by Robin Russo

As a new spinner, I found handcarding for large projects to be a tedious task. I began to purchase roving and top to avoid the carding process but was soon dissatisfied with both the spinning and knitting of those prepared items. Then in 1978, my sisters, my daughter, and I entered a sheep-to-shawl competition and won a Patrick Green drumcarder. This event changed my outlook forever. I now view the purchase of fiber and its preparation to be as much a part of the journey as the spinning and knitting.

Carding is a process of brushing clean fibers over opposing sets of short wire teeth (card clothing) to open and separate the fibers into a uniform mass. This can be accomplished with a set of handheld cards, a small tabletop drumcarder, or a very large industrial carding machine. The size of your carded mass will be determined by the size of the carding device you are using. Carded fibers produce woolen yarns that are soft, lofty, fuzzy, warm, bouncy, and lightweight. However, woolen items made from these yarns have a tendency to pill because of short fibers that are not secured in the spun yarn and so stick out of the woolen yarn. In worsted-spun yarns, the fibers are tucked inward as they are spun.

Understanding your drumcarder and what it is capable of is important. Here are a few things to look at.

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