Carding Issue?

I couldn’t find a forum for carding and such, but maybe someone here can help me.

Just started learn to hand card my own wool so I can felt with it, but have one issue that I’m unsure about.

The wool I’m currently using is 1in unstretched. Almost 1.5in stretched and released. And under 2in when held taught. When carding, I get a double layer effect. I can’t figure out if this is because of the short fiber or if I’m doing it wrong. I just found a tiny abount of 2.5-3in wool to test and see if it also ‘layers’ or not, but it’s still being washed.

Here is a picture. I remove the pills/naps as I find them, forgot to do so before taking this picture.
Anyway, you can see the layering pretty clearly here.

When you say ‘double layer’ are you meaning your carded wool looking like 2 separate pieces of carded wool??

Are you carding on hand cards? Where it is thin between the 2 pieces, add more wool to fill in, or put the two separate pieces one on top of each other and make sure you are carding gently and evenly across your hand cards.

You want to be barely touching the wires between the two hand cards, not mashing them together.

Does this help at all?

Looks like staggered layers of wool, thick in the middle, thinner out on the top and bottom. Does the picture above not work?

Flat hand carders, 90.

I ended up trying random stuff myself and eventually ended up doing it like this video clearly shows. But it still isn’t all that nice.

And doing it this way, this is what they ended up looking like. More even-ish.

The last picture is when I just twisted one end and brushed it out, then flipped it and brushed the other end. 100% even. So, that’s what I’ll be doing from now on, the twist n brush.

Beth gives a nice example in the Schacht video however she likes to stay at the end of the carder instead of using the whole carding cloth.

I can’t remember is Beth describes the parts of the had card … the end by the handle is called the ‘heel’ of the card and the opposite side is call the ‘toe’ of the card.

You can load the whole card (instead of just half the card) and use the same technique that Beth shows, carding with just the ‘toe’ of the carder.

Another way to use the whole carding cloth is to load the whole card. Remember less is more, do not over load! Place the heel of the top carder over the heel of the bottom carder (handles in opposite directions) and gently move the top carder towards the toe of the bottom carder. You want to [U]barely [/U]mesh the two carders. Do this a few times.

Next, you will remove the rest of the fiber from the bottom card.
To do this, place the ‘toe’ of the bottom card over the heel of the top card, handles in the same direction and gentle move the toe in the direction of the other toe.

This allows you to get to the ‘other side’ of the fiber you are carding.

Repeat this carding until you are happy!

Ruth MacGregor has a great video for hand carding. This is closer to how I do it


The one thing you’ll learn about the fiber arts is there is absolutely no one way to do anything!! :cheering: What works for baby southdown may or may not work for lincoln longwool, alpaca, merino, romney, buffalo, cotton, etc etc etc

There are many, many, many ways to get to the same goal. We all find what works best for us using the fiber we’re working with.

This video shows what I was trying to describe in my last comment about removing the fiber from the bottom card.


I don’t like the way this lady handles her cards … too rough in my opinion, but hey! I’m not the one that will have to replace her hand cards when the teeth get bent. :wink:

The end is all I use.

The wool is one to one and a half inches long that I am currently using.

If I use the whole card, it mats.

I do as the lady in the video I linked. Place wool at the end of the card and brush the wool that hangs off with the other card in a down and back, then up and back motion. Video shows and explains it better than I.

But I am now twisting 1/3 of the wool, brushing out the 2/3 and then flipping and brushing out the other end. It’s working very easily and nicely. I am not trying to make rolag, as I do not spin. I just want to brush out the wool to make felt for now.

I’ll have long wool, 3-4in, next spring when I have my flock shorn. Until then, I’ll keep watching videos and occasionally messing with my short wool.

Pictures of carded and brushed wool.

Nice!!! :cheering: :woohoo: :cheering:

Do you spin also?? Drop spindle or wheel?

If you’re just beginning, you’ll appreciate the longer length staple from next year.

If you already spin, you already know this :wink:

Keep messing with this wool. It develops your hand memory. You can try different methods with it, the sheep will just keep making more wool, right?

I’m thinking if you had higher TPI cards, you probably wouldn’t have to deal with the matting when using shorter staples.

The higher the TPI, the finer & shorter the fiber you can card.

You can always card coarser & longer fiber with a high TPI card but you cannot card fine & short fiber with a low TPI card.

Have fun with the fiber & the sheep … I took a look at them on your photobucket page … cuties.

I just started, all I do is brush the super short wool, stuff it into a box and move onto the next bit of wool. Made one felt pad, after lots of trial and error. Ended up looking sort of like a bison, didn’t intend for it to look like anything other than felted.

I used to know how to knit a scarf, but I don’t wear them, so I stopped making them and forgot how to make them by now.

I got the 90 cards because I read somewhere I should get the higher numbered ones for Babydoll wool, but I didn’t have the cash available at the time to get anything more than the 90s. =/

I want to make a 1/2-3/4 inch thick felted pad, but no one knows how much wool I’ll need to layer for that thickness…

No one can answer that question because the standard answer to anything fiber, “It depends”.

It depends on the staple length.
It depends on how much VM is in the wool.
It depends on how much grease is in the wool.
It depends on if the wool has weak spots and breaks.
It depends on how much waste the wool has.
It depends how large you want your pad.
It depends how densely felted you want your pad.

So your answer is, “It depends.”

It’s like answering the question, "How much yarn can I make out of 2 oz of fiber?"
The answer is, “2 oz worth.”

Q: "But how long will the yarn be?"
A: “It depends. How are you going to spin it? Not very much if you spin it bulky weight. A whole lot if you are going to spin it cob weight.”

People give rough estimates for general felt mats, figured why not for a general thickness as well?

Can you felt wool in a container? As in, layer it in a small cup to test out for thicknesses? Like the little container pictured below. Layer wool in there, wet felt it somehow while still in there and mark down the layers, then repeat with more layers until the right thickness comes out of it?

Can you felt onto already felted mats??

Caveat: I’ve felted over the years but I don’t consider myself a proficient felter.

I don’t see why you couldn’t do as you suggested, although it might be easier to needle felt in a container instead of wet felting since it would be more difficult to manipulate the fiber when it was constrained in a container.

To felt another piece on top of a felted mat, I would loosely needle felt some fiber on top of the felted mat to give the next layer something to grab on to.

If you are wet felting the second piece on top of the felted mat, your felted mat may “full” more (shrink and become more dense).

Folks use ‘felting’ & ‘fulling’ interchangeably however there is a difference.

Felting is when you use locks of fiber to create a solid piece of fabric.

Fulling is when you have a piece of fabric (felted, knitted, crocheted, woven) and it shrinks and becomes thicker.

Have you looked into needle felting? For doing batts, you’ll want a tool that holds multiple needles like this:

This is a “Pro Tools 10 Needle”. I believe HalcyonYarn & FeltingSupplies.LivingFelt both carry it. I haven’t ordered from either of these folks, so buyer beware

oh yeah … I’m called a “Fiber Enabler” for a reason … :teehee: :hug:

I think I should of bought combs instead of hand carders…

Why are all the combs so golly expensive?? :thud:

Anyone make their own and can sell me 2 small simple ones?

Combs prep the fiber for worsted spinning, placing all the fibers parallel to each other. It is a smoother, more dense yarn.

Cards prep the fiber for woolen spinning, placing most of the fibers parallel to each other, but still jumbled so there is air trapped. It makes a yarn that is much warmer.

For felting, you definitely want your fiber to be carded and not combed.

Combs work best for long stapled fibers and for de-hairing dual coated wools like Icelandic or primitive Shetland.

The neps & noils (the little little balls) you get from carding are caused (a) from carding too hard or too fast or (b) using lower tpi cards on a fine fiber. To correct this, don’t load your cards as much and card very gently and slowly, like your brushing a baby’s head. It takes longer but the results will be better.

It is much harder to comb fiber shorter than 4"-5".

Yup, combs are expensive but not to worry, there are [I]always [/I]‘cheats’ in the fiber world!! Go on down to your farm store, WalMart or pet store and get a couple dog combs. Stay away from the ones that have the razors in them!!!

Yeah, I’m all over the place. =P

The felt pad I made that looked like a bison, I just pulled the wool apart with my fingers to untighten (they coiled tight after washing) them and fluff some.

Been brushing most of it and sticking it in a box. Then did some carding, plucking out any balls that are from shorter wool that balled after washing. Rolled them into rolag. They’re not perfect and still a little messed up, but ah well.

These are all Lolla’s wool, dirt washed out, but still has lanolin.

Oh, this is Lolla, if you’re wondering.
…and 2 of her buddies, Marshmallow & Surry. =)

Yeah, I’m looking for a good price for one that holds several needles.

Does short, fine wool need a certain gauge needle? Or what you’re making dictate the gauge? What gauge should I start with? I’d love to make little animals from it, maybe even one felt sheep of each of my own sheep from their own wool! :heart:

Your rolags look really good. Don’t critique yourself so hard!!! :hug:

How can you not look at the face of a Babydoll Southdown and not fall instantly in love?? :heart: :heart: :heart:

Down breeds, like the Babydoll, work the best with carded prep, woolen spinning and felting. I love combining Suffolk or Dorset (down breeds) with Corriedale or Romeldale wool and spinning it worsted for mittens & hats. The finer micron count of the Corriedale & Romeldale works well to softer the slightly higher micron count of the down breeds.

Speaking of which, have you had a micron count done on your fiber? No, I don’t know where to get it done since I am not a breeder. Down wools generally fall into the “medium wool” category like the Corriedale. I know what the NABSSAR says about the standard, yet I never see a babydoll farm that actually has their fleece tested to verify the micron count, they only repeat what the NABSSAR says. There is nothing wrong with a medium wool. The Corriedale & Romeldale breeds fall into that category and they are my favorite breed to work with, hands down.

Felting needles. I bought my first package of felting needles at a fiber festival but I’ve seen them at JoAnn’s (fabric/craft store) so I’m sure Michael’s (fabric/craft store) or even a larger WalMart would carry them. I never paid attention to the needle size … they’re all so tiny!!!

Are you a member of Ravelry (dot com)?? I’m sure there are felting groups on there that will be able to answer your questions far better than I can about felting.