Spinning – Corriedale and Carding

So this week was a fun spinning week because I not only spent three hours spinning my blue/brown shetland/alpaca roving, I also was able to take a two hour class on fleece from Corriedale sheep.

On Saturdays I just pack up my stuff – spinning wheel, knitting project and everything else . . .

and I drive to Countrywool – which is contained in a little building behind Claudia’s house.

This is Claudia.

She’s my teacher.

So this week I learned that the Corriedale sheep is a mix of the Lincoln breed (longer fiber with a rough texture) and the Merino breed (short fiber length but beautiful soft texture).  They also do better in desert areas as their hooves cannot handle wet areas well.  Oh well.  I don’t have any land for them anyway.

The fleece we were given was washed and then wet again before we started to work with it.  It had also already been picked apart.

This is what it looks like.

Once it has been picked – and no longer is in “locks” – you take a clump in your hand . . .

and basically push it against the bottom inch of your hand-carder – oops – let me introduce the hand carders

They look like the scary type of dog brushes with their bent metal tines.  But back to the carding.

You push the clump against the bottom inch of your hand carder – not hard – you just want it to grip some of it – and then pull away from the carder

It will hang onto the amount it wants to hold and let the rest go.

Once the entire edge of the carder is holding fleece . . .

you start carding, which is just combing the fleece with the other carder without actually having the tines of either carder make contact.  I am holding the carders in the air for the pictures but I do this with one carder on my leg (left hand) while combing upward in a 45 degree angle with my right hand.

Basically about half of your fleece will go onto the second carder and you will be simultaneously be carding both halves with each stroke.

And eventually all those crimped and tangled locks will loosen up and straightened out and you will get this.

Isn’t that cool?!

Now, there are two steps which come next which get all of the fiber off of one carder and onto the other – that’s the part I keep forgetting.  I have tried a few different things and usually get most of the fiber onto on carder, but there is always that extra little bit that I have to pull off and add to the other carder.  Claudia is showing me how to do the second step in the photo of her above – I just forgot the one I thought I would remember and therefore did not take the picture of.  Sigh.  So we will skip that for right now.  (I will let you know how to do it next week after I talk to Claudia – another sigh).

So, once you get it all onto one hand carder, you roll it up into a cigar shape called a rolag.

Then, holding your rolag in your left hand (assuming you are right-handed like me) you start pulling it out from one end to make your roving.

Then you take your roving, wrap it around you hand like a bird nest

and these are what you spin.

It is incredible to spin.  It feels wonderful and you are able to get really fine thread with this process.

What surprised me is how much fiber I got from what was really a small amount of fleece when spinning.  It goes much further than I expected.  Here is what I have spun so far – and that is really one three or four nests.

I want to give Jesse credit for helping me take these pictures.  He did really well with setting the focus.  I also found out that he had both carded fleece and spun it during a field trip to the Shaker Village.

Holding out on me.  Hey – maybe he knows the part I can’t remember about getting the fleece all on one card.

Got to go.

“Hey, Jesse . . . . .


About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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4 Responses to Spinning – Corriedale and Carding

  1. danielle says:

    Hmmmm…..it’s still hard to picture exactly how it all works…I’m going to have to see someone do it, I think. “Hey, Youtube…..” 🙂

  2. Barbara Antonelli says:

    You did a great job explaining how to card the fleece….just like you showed me. I loved doing it . I can’t wait to move back so I can join in! Your spinning looks really good now.


  3. eastwitching says:

    Perfect description and very satisfying to read. I love carding fiber, making rolags and batts and spinning them – I never tire of reading about others doing it too! Happy Xmas.

  4. Shelly R. says:

    I am loving it too. I can’t wait until after the holidays when I can finally get back to my carding and spinning. Finally all the Xmas presents are done and there are no more knitting deadlines. I have about 5 pounds of roving and three big bags of fleece just waiting for me along with a new wheel. Woo Hoo!!! I hope your holidays were Happy too!

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