Tag Archives: carding

Carders Make Your Qiviut Go Farther + Yarn Cone Holder Special

Beautiful clouds of lovely downy fibers are calling. We have some great prices on  qiviut, cashmere, and camel. Blending downy fibers not only makes them go farther, but it also makes them easier to spin and produces a more hardwearing handspun yarn.  Get out your carders and start making unique blends to spin today. Here are a few tips:

  • Use the finest hand carder or drum carder cloth available.
  • Use at least 50% down fibers so their qualities don’t get lost in the mix
  • Use a light touch when carding
  • Spin a sample to make sure the blend produes a yarn you will like.

If the down fibers are much shorter than the fiber you are blending it with, for instance silk or llama, consider cutting the longer stapled fibers in half.  The reason you do this is because the shorter fibers might pill; however some would say not to bother.  Our solution?  Try carding a small amount of blended fiber–one batch with the shortened staples and the other with the longer staple in tact. Spin a small sample and wash.  Evealuate which one you like and go from there.

I know we have heard it: I don’t swatch or sample.  If you don’t you might miss the opportunity to make the yarn of your dreams.

Hold Your Coned Yarn Right!

Save $50 on this artisan made cone holder! Made by a local woodworker in Kentucky, this cone holder holds up to eight large cones. Yarn guides mounted above the cones keeps your yarn from tangling.  Great for warping multiple colored warps, winding bobbins or pirns,  and making skeins or balls. This cone holder has felt pads on the bottom to keep it from scratching your floors and it breaks down easily for storage.

Happy carding, spinning, and weaving!

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team!


Matchmaking: Picking the Right Tool for the Right Fiber Prep + How to Wind a Pirn

Cheviot Wool Roving

Woolen and worsted—these terms are thrown about a lot.  To hand spinners they have very specific meanings.  Worsted yarns are made from combed fiber preparation (think combing your hair) while woolen yarns are made from a carded preparation (think brushing your hair). As a spinner we have a lot of control over what kind of yarn we make. The secret is all in the preparation. Whether we buy prepared fiber or do the processing ourselves, knowing a bit about the subject will help become better spinners.

Cheviot Wool Top

Prepared Spinning Fiber

We are frequently asked, “What is the difference between fiber top and roving?” Top is combed and roving is carded.  Top has all the fibers aligned (worsted), while roving presents the fibers in a  jumbled array (woolen). Top produces smooth, strudy yarns while roving produces fuzzy, lofty yarns.  There are degrees of each preparation such as semi-worsted or semi-woolen.

DIY Hand Combs and Carders

From left to right: English, Hackle (at rear) and Viking combs.

Combing removes the short fibers, aids in dehairing, and leaves fibers of uniform length. At The Woolery, we stock three basic types of combs: English, Viking, and Hackles.  English combs are an excellent choice for processing large amounts of longish- stapled wool.   Viking combs are  good choice for processing small batches of fiber including short-stapled breeds. Hackles are beloved by many for color blending.

Carding opens up the fibers, distributes them evenly, leaving them in a disordered arrangement.  There are many styles of handcards. Their teeth vary in size. The closer the teeth are  the better they are for fine fibers and inversely the wider apart the teeth the better they work for medium to corse fibers .

There is also the amazing drumcarder.  It cards large amounts of fiber and is an excellent choice for making custom color blends to create unique handspun yarn.  Speaking of drumcarders, we hope you can join us for Strauch Demo Day on February 25.  Don’t worry if you can’t be here, Otto and Joanne will give us a little virtual demo that we will air later.

This barely scratches the surface on the subtleties of fiber preparation.  Feel free to post your questions here or on on our Facebook and Ravelry pages.

Limited Time Special!

To get you started on your own fiber-prep journey, enter coupon cod FHOLD99 at checkout and receive 1 free holding fixture with any in-stock purchase of mini, regular, or viking combs. (Small print: excludes English and Louet mini-combs.)

Before We Move On

Last month we talked a lot about weaving shuttles.  We received a lot of questions about which shuttle is best for what purpose and in particular how to wind a pirn for the end-delivery shuttle.  Check out our latest videos on You Tube for the answers to your burning shuttle questions!  (And, post any ideas for future videos!)


Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery Team