ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Hand Card Wool

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

What Is Carding Wool?

Carding wool, or any fiber, must be done in order to get the fiber ready for spinning into yarn. The clean fiber is carded either by machine or by hand into a manageable size. This allows the spinner to draw out the amount she needs as she is spinning without having to stop to pull out knots, briers, or tangles.Carding is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening.

What Fibers Can Be Spun?

Many fibers can be carded and spun.

  • Dog hair
  • Sheep's wool
  • Angora from either rabbit or goat
  • Cotton
  • Llama
  • Bamboo
  • Silk
  • Soy fibers
  • Even dryer lint!

There are different methods for different fibers, and the plant fibers take specialized tools and processes. Most spinners will use mainly animal fibers.

Clemes and Clemes hand carders
Clemes and Clemes hand carders
Close up of the teeth of a carding tool
Close up of the teeth of a carding tool
clean wool, before carding
clean wool, before carding
Loading the card
Loading the card

Using Hand Cards

The first things you will need to card your fiber, besides the actual fiber, are hand cards. These are flat or slightly curved tools that look much like a dog brush. In fact, you can use dog brushes until you get access to cards. The cards should be marked for your right and left hand. When they are new it does not matter which is which but once you use them you need to take a pen and mark the handles, or somewhere where the markings can easily be seen.

Carding, Step By Step

  1. Start by laying one of the carders across your left knee, face up pulling the fiber through the teeth of the carder.
  2. With the other carder in your right hand, gently brush across the wool several times until the wool is evenly distributed on both cards and is starting to get fluffy.
  3. Pull the wool out from the right card and lay it on top of the wool on the left.
  4. Repeat the process of gently brushing across the wool, six times or so, until the fiber is very light and puffy.
  5. Put all of the wool on the left carder again and from the top edge roll it off the carding tool and into a soft, fluffy roll. This is called a rolag.
  6. Repeat the process with your wool until you have enough to spin.

Gently brushing the wool
Gently brushing the wool
Making the rolag
Making the rolag

Mixing Fibers & Colors

You can get some interesting effects by mixing fibers and/or colors as you card. Carding two types of fiber together will give you a completely different finished yarn than a single fiber. By mixing heavily crimped fiber and longer silkier fiber, for example, you can get a smooth yarn with "nubs" which is a very trendy combination.

Carding two or more colors together will give you a heathered effect if it is done subtly, or a more multi-color effect if bright, or contrasting colors are used. Depending on the ratio of color to color you can get variegated or marbled effects as well.

The more you experiment and practice the more intricate can be your combinations. Be sure to knit or crochet a small swatch after spinning to make sure it looks the way you want it to.

A completed rolag next to wool that has not been carded
A completed rolag next to wool that has not been carded

Where To Get Carders?

There are many places on the internet where you can buy new or used carders. If you have a spinners guild near you you might check with them to see if anyone has any to sell. Some knitting/spinning stores carry them as well. If you can find them locally it is best to get them that way as you can talk to the sales person and get advice, check them out and see what shape you like. Expect to pay at least 50.00 for a set.

Watch Someone Card Wool

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      joy roby 6 years ago

      Hi

      I hope it is as smple as that .if so i will be knitting in no time.

      thanks a lot

      joy

    • profile image

      Gail Fetty 8 years ago

      Thanks for the great info. I have been wanting to do this for years ,as I am a knitter and crocheter and wanted to make my own yarn as my great grandmother did. So I can pass down the tradition that seemed to have been lost. Now I have got wool available to me,I can get started.

    • Abbie Marshall profile image

      Abbie Marshall 8 years ago from The Coast of Northern New England

      Thanks for a really great hub. Carding has been on my "learn to do list" for awhile (with 3 young boys it'll be there a bit longer to!!) thanks for all the great info!!

    • Marye Audet profile image
      Author

      Marye Audet 8 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Dawn-

      Because in using them they wear a certain way. The left should ALWAYS be left because of this, at least this is my understanding.

    • profile image

      Dawn 8 years ago

      Can you please explain WHY cards should be marked L and R?

      Thanks!

    • Joy At Home profile image

      Joilene Rasmussen 8 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the info...this has been on my list of things to learn for years (too many things first...).

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 10 years ago

      Wow that's pretty nifty!

    • VickeyK profile image

      VickeyK 10 years ago

      Amazing how little the technology changes over thousands of years! I guess when something works, you stay with it.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      I haven't done manual carding, but I did this carding process in my school, used to hate the sounds of the machines and fibers floating in the air suffocating sometimes. But it does a great job in cleaning the fibers and straightening. Nice to see you guys have this for home use as well, one can appreciate this process more.

    • Marye Audet profile image
      Author

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Thank you! I will doing one on hand spinning, and one on wheel spinning soon...:)

      Isn't it relaxing?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Excellent Hub! I've done a little carding. It's very interesting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)