Practical problems - carding and keeping the wheel going under tension

OK, I’ve started to look at what I have and already am running into problems.

Problem A - carding the fleece isn’t getting rid of all the bits and bobs in the fleece. Lots of proverbial C stuff is coming out, but not all - I can make a nice rolag shape, but it’s not clean fleece and I don’t think washing the fleece will get rid of it either. What do you do to get rid of the all the ‘stuff’ that sheep accumulate as they forage under trees and bushes?

Problem B - when I put tension on any thread coming out of the orifice to the winder I find it difficult to keep the when going in the forwards direction. It flips backwards, the thread falls off the hooks and all winds around in wrong direction and around the axle of where the bobbin sits between the bobbin and spinner and I get chaos. Has anyone got any advice for keeping the wheel going when I put tension on the thread please?

Many thanks for any pointers

I’ll tag a spinner who might be able to help. @mullerslanefarm

Poor mullerslanefarm, she has only just finished helping me with the wheel itself!

She’s our resident expert. :slight_smile: We don’t have a lot of spinners here so unless we tag her questions can go unanswered. I’m glad she was able to help you with your wheel problem.

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I love to help new spinners, so don’t feel sorry for me!

My rural internet provider is having difficulty so hopefully I can answer this for you without my internet going down (again.)

Carding ( or combing) isn’t meant to clean the fleece of VM (vegetative matter). When working with a fresh fleece, I spend a lot of time, sometimes a day or two, going through it lock by lock shaking and pulling out VM and sorting the locks. Sometimes I’ll sort by length of lock, or by the hand feel of the lock or by the color of the lock. Only then will I decide if I will wash the locks using a mild detergent to remove both the dirt and grease or if I will soak the locks in a suint bath to remove just the dirt and spin ‘in the grease’.

Even at this point, there will still be small bits of VM trapped in the locks. Carding (which will create a woolen yarn) or combing (which will create a worsted yarn) will remove some more of the VM and during the drafting while I’m spinning I hopefully am able to remove the last of the VM. Moral of the story is the better you prep your fiber, the better your spinning experience will be.

(1) You may have to increase (or decrease) your brake tension a little
(2) let go of the fiber in your hand!!! Keep just enough tension to create a drafting triangle that pulls naturally from the rolag.

Practice playing with the tension by threading cheap yarn through the orifice, over the hooks and onto the bobbin.

You can do this!!

@mullerslanefarm many thanks again for your time and advice. It sounds like the fleece preparation is an art in itself. Many of the online videos available just show the ‘spinning’ part of the process - by this point everyone is already using nice clean fleece that has already gone through many of the processes you describe. Clearly to make use of the fleece I have, particularly from sheep living in the environment than mine live in - full of scrub trees and weeds I will have to work hard to get it clean first.

I have been and found a large ball of old red knitting wool - I think I will have to spend time with this and winding it onto the bobbin using the wheel to sort out how to make things work. I will report back with progress in due course. Many thanks

@SpinningMum, Oh, it is! :slight_smile: The farther fiber arts pull you in, the more you realize how every part of it is an art … from the breeding of the fiber animals to making the final piece of work and every step in between … spinning is just one step.

I dreaded the first couple of fleeces I worked through, I started like you did, carding dirty fleece and trying to spin it. However I also learned a lot about what to look for when purchasing a raw fleece. A little VM didn’t intimidate me … the different crimp between breeds fascinate me; the color variations in a fleece excited me; uniform staple (lock) length thrilled me. After buying a raw fleece, I looked forward to sitting down and getting to know that animal a bit better through its fleece. You can tell a lot about the year an animal has been through by its fleece. Stress or poor feed shows up as weak spots in a lock.

Then there is the option of coloring your wool … oh the choices! Not only in the types of dye (natural or acid dyes??) but will you dye before you card/comb into rolags/roving, after you’ve formed rolags/roving, after you’ve spun into yarn or after you’ve created your project?

And your project … will you weave, knit, crochet, tat, embellish using needle felting?

Wait! What’s that I hear? A sucking sound as you are pulled farther into the fiber arts? :wink: LOL