Carding not weaving


Been so busy picking, carding and spinning the first of three fleeces I was given last year, that I haven’t had time to paint the tapestry sketches that are floating around in my head (they just keep marching in), nor weave the small samplers for learning the process.

I’m finally done, although only with the dyed part. Still 900 g of white (from the one fleece) to deal with…. I must say, the spinning goes super fast from rolags, but picking out plant bits and hand carding was murder. Only 550 g of yarn to show for a whole month’s work, and there’s in total 2500 g left of those fleeces to process. In the meantime, I’m not doing any fun spinning, hardly any knitting, no weaving, no painting… in other words



Now I’ve been there, done it and not even a t-shirt to prove it. Yes, buying a collection of many colours of yarns to weave with (gotta have a proper palette) requires a budget, but really, in hours each of my skeins here are worth a fortune compared. If I compare a paid job for the same number of hours I could have gotten several looms as well as a ton of yarn. If I did of course I wouldn’t have the time or energy to play with my hobbies, which is why I opted for free fleece in the first place. I still have an ambition to spin yarn for tapestry, BUT I’m also working on simplifying and destressing my daily life and this is not how you do it.

Using the plant dyed yarns however are an entirely different matter, at the moment the colour schemes I seem to come up with for designs are not very consistent with this intention, but I can work with that. If nothing else, my not plant-yellowish sketches can become paintings I suppose! So, carding is put on the back burner and more instantly gratifying projects are back in business. (and OMG is carding also boring!)



Så er månedens udfordring erklæret slut, jeg fik ikke spundet de hvide totter som håbet, kun de farvede. Og det er HELT ok.

Ideen gik ud på at endelig få onduleret den ene af de gratishamme jeg fik sidste år og gik og sjatfarvede hele sommeren. Spindingen tager ingen tid overhovedet, men pille, pille, pille små stumper strå ud og derefter karte, gab!

Og hvad har jeg efter en hel mÃ¥ned uden anden (sjovere) spinding, uden læsning, maling osv? Blot 550 g garn. Omregner jeg det til et almindeligt job, kunne jeg have købt det pÃ¥ blot et par timer… Det er vist ikke sÃ¥dan man afstresser og simplificerer sit liv, men nu er det da gjort og jeg er tilfreds med at have ordnet dette delmÃ¥l. Resten fÃ¥r pænt lov at ligge til en kedelig vinterdag hvor der ikke skal luges, sÃ¥s spinat, fotograferes forÃ¥rsskov (nÃ¥nej, mit kamera er jo ved at opgive ævred), males skabeloner til at væve efter sÃ¥, ideerne vælter ind og hober sig op mens jeg karter og karter! Der var vist ogsÃ¥ lige noget sommerstrik der skulle være færdigt.

18 thoughts on “Carding not weaving

  1. Ja, detr tager en krig at rense sådan en fåreham, gad vide hvordan garn nogensinde kan købes så billigt som det kan?

    1. Maskiner klarer det jo en anelse mere gesvindt – og sÃ¥ tror jeg helt ærligt ikke de bruger uld af SÅ dÃ¥rlig kvalitet! Klippet dÃ¥rligt, levet udendørs hele vinteren, sovet i strÃ¥ osv. Og sÃ¥ har jeg desuden hørt om en kemisk process der opløser plantedele uden at opløse ulden (hyggeligt, ikke?).

  2. I highly recommend a drum carder – I know they cost a bomb but it makes the task so much more manageable and – even – fun, especially when you are blending colours.

    1. I know, and it’s been on my wish list for a year – but my camera seems to be on its last breath, and that costs about 3 bombs. 😉 So I’m kinda holding my horses (on all of it actually)

  3. I am convinced that fleece processing isn’t for anyone who doesn’t love the process from start to finish. And acknowledging what you don’t like about it is so valid. I like it all, even if I am hand carding, which means I do a lot of it. But even as I am enjoying the process I can clearly see it isn’t for anyone.

    Do keep that drum carder on your wishlist though. It does help. I am not positive how much faster it is, but it feels far more productive.

    1. We were actually discussing that – whether it’s actually faster. I didn’t mind the carding so much at first, it was the sheer volume and the nitpicking of so much VM. And that I had no time for other projects, it became production, not hobby.

      I agree that you should love the whole process or not do it.

    1. Hej Miri. Det er faktisk en rigtig god tænkeaktivitet! Får vi snart noget at se fra dit nye sted? (tror jeg er røget i dit spamfilter igen)

  4. I too understand the issues with processing fleeces. It is just a lot of work! Can you split the difference and buy prepared fiber and dye it? Or is there a weaving or spinning guild near you? They often have equipment that members can borrow or have workshops where members can use equipment.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by splitting the difference, but I do spin and dye combed top as well. This was a challenge I set myself to see what the whole process was like, and I’ve learned mostly that crummy fleeces are worth exactly what you pay for them 😉 (in this case nothing)

      We are about 150 organized spinners in all of Denmark that I know of, so meetings are far between and usually too far away from me to bring that much fiber to card even if someone brings their drumcarder. We don’t have a specific location as we’re spread all over the country.

      I’ll just adapt and leave the rest of the crummy fleece for when I feel like it. 🙂

      1. I take the easy way and buy dyed fiber!

        I can’t wait to see how your tapestry weaving develops. Although I fought the urge to weave for a long time, I’m having great fun with my rigid heddle loom. But I don’t have the vision for tapestry weaving.

        1. I definitely didn’t want to weave either. Until I did. Come to think of it I didn’t want to prepare fleece either. Or before that, spin. I wonder what the next thing will be that I don’t really want to get into and then suddenly get the urge – raising sheep?! I’ve been eyeing the rigid heddles, wondering if they could double for tapestry, the Ashfords aren’t too expensive (like the cost of a drumcarder, insert mad cackle), and they have a 70 cm out now. But while I might want the odd drapey scarf for me or a gift, I’m just not a tablerunner person unless you count the cats. I hate to sew. To me it’s mostly about making pictures, even the yarn is a kind of “painting”. So tapestry is just a branch of painting and photography, in fact I haven’t been weaving much (because I’ve been carding), but I’ve been making sketches for tapestries and looking at photo resources or planning photo shoots to make resources etc.

  5. I have also determined that I don’t enjoy preparing a fleece to do it and that free fleece full of vegetation is definitely not worth it. However, I still want a drum carder for color and fiber blending. In order to get exactly the right color for your tapestries, you may be dyeing your yarn, and possibly prepared fiber to blend together and spin.

    1. With top, I usually blend on my hackle, much easier! But this staple was way too short and messy. The white locks I have left ought to go on the Valkyries or I can flick and spin the locks.

      I like the heathered look you get when you spin semisolids or several colours blended, rather than just dye the yarn, but sometimes the latter is just easier.

  6. I love the colours the blue especially! It is hard work but sooooo satisfying. If you belong to a Dyers spinners & weavers Guild you would be able to borrow a drum carder


    1. Unfortunately we don’t have local spinning guilds, the country is too small, not enough spinners.

  7. I spin all kinds of things from crummy to luscious… and a fleece that is clean, relatively free of vegetable matter and of a breed you can manage to process (high grease and readily felting fleeces intimidate me, for instance)… is a very different proposition from a yucky one!

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