Roving Reporter: Carded Clouds Fiber Prep
Carded cloud—with colors swirling and fading into one another—is not a fiber prep I often see in my fiber travels. Well-prepared cloud, with clean fibers open and ready to welcome twist, can be hard to come by. While teaching in South Dakota last year, I purchased some fabulous cloud from Kelly Knispel of Dakota Carding; now it’s time to sample! I’m trying 3 approaches to holding and preparing Kelly’s cloud for spinning.
Cloud is easy to spin and seemed just the thing to tuck into my pack for California teaching adventures. When I worked with Dakota Carding cloud the last time (purple skein above), I simply spun from a handful of lovely cloud—no preparation needed. This time, I laid my cloud out under some California sycamores to try a few fiber prep methods.
Spinners I meet can be unsure of how to hold cloud—there isn’t a clear end to spin from like roving or combed top. Depending on how you handle cloud, you can create preparations that are more or less organized.
1. Spin straight from the cloud.
It’s that simple—grab a chunk and add twist. This is a less organized preparation and will give you more texture in your yarns.
2. Roll cloud into a rolag.
For a preparation that yields airy, lightweight yarns, try rolling a piece of cloud into a rolag. Lay a thin sheet of cloud out and roll into a tube. This can give you a bit more control over the fibers in your hand, but not reduce the loft and nature of cloud preparations.
3. Draft a roving.
A commercial carding machine creates carded blends that are then attenuated into a roving. We can do that with our hands as well! Hold the cloud mass in your non-dominant hand—the hand that typically holds the fiber while you are spinning. This hand acts like a diz or funnel. With your other hand, pinch some fibers and draft forward a few inches. Drop the little strip of sliver that emerges and repeat. I like to draft a long strip and then roll it up into a ball for spinning. This is the most organized preparation of the three listed here. As the fibers are attenuated, they begin to move into a more parallel orientation—more worsted-like.
Come back next week and we will look at spinning methods and yarn designs for these beautiful fibers!
Featured Image: Purple Passion carded cloud from Dakota Carding before spinning and after plying. Photos by Kate Larson.
Discover your favorite fiber prep!