Susie Benitez; ACRE Student: From Fleece toYarn

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After getting our fleece washed, Professor Trimpey and I revisited Linda at R Ewe Spinning to learn some more about carding. Carding is when you take paddles that resemble hairbrushes with metal prong and brush the fleece. The goal is to get all of the fibers straight and parallel. Some of the smaller clumps and leftover seed matter also come out when carding. What results from carding is called roving. You can roll the roving up and use it to spin from.

We tried to do some carding on our own before going to see Linda. Professor Trimpey had done a little bit of carding before, so she gave me some pointers. I found an excellent video online during which a woman teaches people how to card and really breaks down the process into simple steps. I tried to use the video as a guide, but it wasn’t until Lina gave us a few tips that I began to grasp the technique.

            I enjoy going to Linda’s shop. She always has some new type of yarn or cute samples of various projects. When we arrived, Linda was all set up to teach us about carding. She had a few chairs out, a bag of the fleece that we practiced washing with, and newspapers laid out on the floor to catch any of the seed matter.  We took out our carding paddles. Linda showed us how you load a bit of fleece onto one of the paddles. Then you hold the paddle with the fleece in your left hand and begin to brush it with the paddle in your right hand. You start brushing lightly from the bottom of the paddle and then work your way up.  Linda told us that it is important to make sure that the fleece you are brushing doesn’t roll back on itself because it will create clumps in the roving. After everything looks nice and straight, you take the fleece off the paddles and do the process over again until you have carded all of the fleece.

            I found carding to be rather relaxing and I got better as I got more practice at it. As we continued to card, Professor Trimpey, Linda, and I told each other stories and talked about our days. This made the whole experience that much more fun.

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