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Shoebox 05-14-2012 10:51 PM

Does anybody spin their own yarn?
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I am learning how to spin yarn. Me and my mother went to a shepherd's festival this past weekend, and bought tons of raw fiber (sheep, llama, alpaca). We are currently in the process of washing, and next comes carding... Thing is, it's going to take FOREVER to card this all! We have an entire sheep's worth of wool, a big basket full of wolf, two grocery bags of llama and one of alpaca...

So, my question is, where can I get carding paper? I desperately want a drum carder, but I just can't afford one. So I kind of want to see if I can make one somehow. I'm looking for the absolute cheapest carding paper I can find, so if you know of a good place, I'd love to hear about it!

Also, any tips and tricks you have feel free to leave me :)

Bonus picture: After much investigation, the dog decided that the wool was nothing to fear.

karliejaye 05-16-2012 08:58 PM

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No, I do not....yet. But that is one of my life goals is to make my own yarn from angora rabbits and various other critters.

And that pic is absolutely adorable!

Sorry, I really have nothing constructive to add. Best of luck, I would love to hear how you make a home made drum carder!

CarmenL 05-16-2012 09:10 PM

Yes, I learned to spin last year and have used wool as well as alpaca. Lots of good advice on the Internet. I do not have a drum carder although iwill probably get one sometime. I carded my wool with a hackle and combs. Also, you can spin the raw fleece by just teasing out a little at a time.

I have my own sheep. The First project I did was to shear my young ram (older Ram's stink and it's impossible to get rid of the smell evidently!!) I washed the wool in my washing machine (demonstrated via utube!) combed the wool and spun it. My daughter knitted a jersey for my husband and it is beautiful. The fleece was black with some silvery threads to it. It was a large jersey which took all of the fleece.

I'm now knitting myself a jacket from alpaca wool I have spun. Most say to blend alpaca with wool as it keeps it's shape better, but I'm just experimenting at the moment.

Good luck with your project, and 'happy spinning'!!

Shoebox 05-16-2012 09:31 PM

Karliejaye - I'm not following a specific set of instructions. I'm just kind of looking at pictures and finding things that would work to build it (and buying the carding paper). I will definitely tell you how I did it and show you the final product when I'm done, if you'd like!

CarmenL - I have heard of hackles, but I don't know what they are and what their purpose is. Could you inform me?

Lockwood 05-16-2012 09:32 PM

Oh, yes... scouring sheep wool. Fun!
The nice thing about alpaca and llama is there is no oil to have to scour out. Many people actually spin it unwashed because it is so dry and light even when dirty. People spin sheep wool unwashed too, but then the oil and lanolin will get on your carders and equipment, which is fine with some people,and not others.
Anyway, when you spin alpaca or llama unwashed, you can then clean/wash after it is spun which will set the twist at the same time. It can be easier that way.

You mentioned a drum carder (which are nice) but did the person you bought from show you hand carders and how to use them? Much cheaper than a drum carder and will get you started nicely. But even those are a bit pricey.
Plain dog slickers (dog brushes that look like hand carders) are a good way to get started until you get the hang of the slap and rhythm of carding.

Each of the fibers that you bought will behave a little differently on the slickers or carders and after you know what you are doing it will be easier to invest in the right carders for you.

I did price carder fabric/material once, but it was expensive and hard to find. Just keep googling drum carder fabric and the like to see what is out there now.

Welcome to the world of fiber and spinning!

CarmenL 05-17-2012 03:38 AM

A hackle is a long comb secured to a table that you lash the fibre to and comb off. Look for a demo on utube. That's where I saw them used. I also use a hand carder sometimes.

BigGreyHorse 05-17-2012 09:56 AM

Hand cards will get the job done. It's just more work than a drum carder. If you are inclined to make your own, you can get carding cloth from Howard Brush Co. Don't know if they have a minimum purchase or not. They also make some nice cards & drum carders.

edited to add: I've been a spinner for 25yrs.

Shoebox 05-17-2012 08:20 PM

No, I wasn't shown how to use hand carders, but I looked up a few YouTube videos about it. Maybe we'll go that route, if we can find the money.

And I've seen hackles, but none of the videos explain the purpose. One person said they are for combining different colors of wool together, and another said it replaces carding. Maybe it does both?

And thanks BigGreyHorse! Their carding cloth is certainly expensive... Maybe I'll try to dig up some hand carders, and save for the cloth (since my plans to work this summer fell through).

Lockwood 05-17-2012 08:40 PM

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If you want, look up hand carder videos to see how easy they are to use. Once you think you have the hang of things, you can go to the local discount store or pet store and pick up two dog slicker brushes. While they are smaller than most carders, the will do a pretty good job and you can mix your colors right on the slickers/carders.

The first 3 pics are of carders, the last 2 are of dog slickers.

And yes, I have used both carders and slickers. Carders definately get the job done much faster, but slickers can let you make something now while learning all the other things to learn about spinning without the exspensive tools, assuming you are going to start with a drop spindle, which you can also make yourself.
I'll see if I can get the sites off my other pc for you, in the mean time...


Lockwood 05-17-2012 08:43 PM

The Joy of Handspinning: Spinning Wool, Angora, and/ or Alpaca into Yarn on a Drop Spindle or Spinning Wheel

This a great site. It has videos on all things spinning and how to make a drop spindle.

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