Friday, July 13, 2007

Drum Carder!

So, my friend Fern phoned this evening to say that our new drum carder had arrived. (We decided to go halfsies on one, since neither of us quite thought we could justify the expense alone. Right now, it's living at her house.)

Owen and I went right over and brought along the grape Kool-Aid almost-felted roving to run through.

We had a chuckle about one sheet of instructions that was packed with it. It was a notice that a great many returns for service were introduced with the owner saying, "I lent it to a friend..." So, they want to make sure to remind folks not to lend out the drum carder without properly training the friend first.

After carefully reading all the important parts of the manual, we got out some plain white inexpensive roving to run through a few times. This is to clean off any crud left on at the factory, and indeed, that first fiber did get pretty dingy. When we got a clean run, then I started in on the grape Kool-aid batch.

And voila:

My first batts! It's a lot of fun to make them and I'm excited to imagine the creative potential in blending fibers and colors.

Earlier in the day, I decided that I needed to make the yarn from these singles into a 3 ply. I tried Navajo plying a little sample, the second time I ever tried. I did a better job the first time. After a couple broken strands in thin spots and a twisty gobbledy-gook mess, I decided I wasn't going to pursue that tonight. Surely plain old plying with three strands would be easier. Except that I had one center pull ball and one small quantity on a cone. The two ends from the center-pull ball had more affinity for one another than the third ply, but I just wanted to get a sense of the weight of yarn I'd end up with, so I made enough yards for a little swatch.

I really like the feel of it. It has a satisfying springiness and is pleasantly soft. It just has a nice hand.

Energized by all this, I got home from Fern's about 10 and spun up some of one of the batts. What a delight! Compared to working apart the almost-felted fibers by hand, this is a dream.

I'm planning to make it all a three-ply, probably a heavy sport-weight/DK range. My swatch was done on US #5 needles and that seems just right.

I just need to work out the right amount of twist for plying three strands. I'm getting the hang of balanced two-ply, but my timing is off on the three-ply.


DeltaDawn said...

Gorgeous stuff and I'm going to aspire to be so well-thought out as you are about a project! I love that you knit a little swatch already - nice to have something to look forward to.

Marina said...

That seems like a lot of hard work, but so worth it! Lovely!

Lucia said...

Great to meet you last night and lay eyes on that brand-new carder!

Robin said...

Very nice!

Beth said...

So pretty! Love those colors together! I have the same drum carder and I am in love with it!

Abby Franquemont said...

wooo! Congrats on the new carder. You will love it, I can tell.

Without a doubt, the ability to salvage something from fibers that aren't how you hope is one of the great things about a drum carder. Mine was down for maintenance earlier in the year... for like 2 weeks. But I thought it was 2 months. ;-)

Sue, aka seiding said...

So, you'll be training me properly before lending it to me? ;)

I've never had to urge to do any hand-carding or other fiber prep, really, but, dang, all this talk of carders is starting to get to me!

Your sample is so pretty!

Batty said...

OK, I never understood the point of carding my own yarn until I saw that you can use it to combine colors. Beautiful! Now I get it.

Bezzie said...

I'm having a flashback to that Sesame Street short where they showed a sweater being knit from sheep to sweater. The drum carder part was my favorite--the way they peeled the wool off of it--ohhhh!!! I didn't realize how much that impacted me until I saw that pic of you and your friend's carder.

Very cool!!

MollyBeees said...

Ooooo! I knew it would come out beautiful. I love all the different purpley-goodness tones!

Ruinwen said...

Yummy, yummy yarn! Great about your new carder! :)

Zonda said...

So that's what a carder does (sorry, just ddn't know a lot about spinning) The fiber is awesome and looks even better knit up.

la oveja romerillo said...

Hi! can you please tell me what's your carder's brand? I'm planning to get one, but I'm not sure which. Help! I'll use it just for felting.Thanks! Connie