Alpine Meadows Weavers and Spinners
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Carding Wool by Hand Using Hand Cards

Hand carding wool is a fun way to learn the characteristics of the type of wool you are working with. It is one of a variety of ways to prepare the wool for spinning.The following pictures might be helpful, but keep in mind that you are in charge and have to figure out what works, that means, what results in fluffy fiber that is easy to spin. If you are left handed, read this page first and then go to the left handed page.

Carder teeth angled toward handle Look closely at the hand card. On most cards the teeth are angled toward the handle. The angled teeth make it easier to grab the fiber or release it, depending on how the cards are held in relation to each other.
Fluffy wool fiber on left, compact wool fiber on right Step 1. Pick out seeds, sticks, etc. (vm=vegetable matter) from the fiber, and tease apart a bit with the hands. The fiber on the left has been picked; whereas the fiber on the right has not.
Placing the locks of wool on the hand card Step 2. Sitting in a chair, place the left card on your lap with the handle pointed away from you and to the left. Place a few locks of wool on the teeth. In general, the locks are parallel to the handle.
Right card on top of left card Step 3.With the left hand, hold the left card in the same position as previously. Now hold the right card in the the right hand with the teeth pointed down. Gently brush across the fiber several times, keeping the cards aligned so that the handles are parallel. Some people brush vigorously, and the sound of the teeth meshing is quite noticeable, but I like to brush gently so that the teeth barely touch each other.
Right card has moved down the left card Step 4. Brush approximately 5 or 6 times, or until the right card has picked up a lot of fiber.
Right card turned so handles are near each other Step 5. Now you need to get the fiber off of the right card and back onto the left card. Rotate the right card so the handles are near each other, but the bottom of the right teeth are at the top of the left teeth. The top of the teeth means the edge that is near the handle. The bottom is the edge that is not near the handle. Now move the right card down over the left card. The fibers on the right card will be caught by the left card.
Right card has moved down the left card Step 6. Brush about 6 times.
Right card flipped over Step 7. Now we need to get out the fiber that is stuck down in the teeth of the left card. Flip over the right card, and move the left card so that the bottom of the teeth are at the top of the right teeth. Move the left card down over the right card to remove the fiber.
Brushing with left card moving Step 8. Now you can put the right card on the lap and continue brushing as before but with the left card moving or, if the fiber seems ready, you can skip this step and proceed to Step 9.
Rolling up the fiber on the card Step 9. This step is easiest if you lay aside the card without the fiber, and put the one with the fiber in your lap with the handle facing away. Starting at the bottom, roll the fiber off of the teeth. You can make a neat little cylindrical shape or just leave the fiber fluffy.
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© 2007 Debra Whitehead