I went to a drum carder class earlier this month.
You heard that right. Drum carder. If you aren't a spinner you might not know what a drum carder is.
It looks like this.
The class was given by Henry and Roy Clemes from Clemes and Clemes, Inc. Father and son team, they make fiber equipment and travel teaching classes from time to time. They were at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins in Boulder earlier this month and I was able to go to one day of their weekend workshop. They'll be back at Estes Park Wool Market this June and it is already on my calendar.
We had a great time. Roy and Henry were really fun. Here Roy is demonstrating how to safely pack the batt down as the motor on this electric drum carder is running.
In the workshop we carded five batts. For each one we were given a bag with 1-2 ounces of fiber in it and told how to card it.
The second batt was this Jacob sheep. We carded it woolen which means we fed it into the drum carder sideways. The resulting yarn was one of my favorites.
I think you know you're a real fiber geek if something like this causes you to jump up and down with glee as it did me. We spun a batt using merino top, mixing four different colors. And then... get this. We took a diz and pulled off the batt in one long strip for spinning. How cool is that?!! (The diz is the little wooden thing I'm holding which has a hole in it that lets the fibers through in a specific amount.)
The last batt we carded was an "art batt". I think this is the technical term for "we're going to throw a bunch of stuff in with the fleece and see what comes out." The fleece was white Romney and it was quite wonderful. The bag I received had some blue sparkle in it and some confetti (those little bits of extra colored yarn). I actually enjoyed the spinning. I was tempted to pluck all those little bits of yarn out as I went, but I didn't and the resulting yarn was quite fun. It would make a nice hat if I had more of it.
While spinning up these 1-2 ounce batts, I wanted to make sure I kept as much yarn as possible, so I taught myself Andean plying from Jillian Moreno's fantastic spinning book, Yarnitecture.
And there is that art batt. I was shocked how much I liked it. I wished I had more of it so I could make a hat.
Here is proof that I spun all five batts that we made in the class. I am as surprised as you are that I came home and spun them all up. My favorite yarn is the CVM/Alpaca blend (middle skein). But the Romney was a beautiful fleece to work with even if we were adding "stuff" to it to make an art batt. The blue was the merino top. This yarn is not nearly as fun to spin as the other four that contained fleece that hadn't seen a commercial processor, but I did enjoy using the diz in this way as well as blending those colors.
Maggie Casey co-owns Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder. I love taking spinning classes with her and this photo might just explain why (she is a lot of fun).
Henry and Roy have these pretty cool batt storage things. Here Roy is rolling a batt off the carder. Then the pink sheet with batt inside is stored in a clear plastic sleeve.
I've tried a few other drum carders, and the ones made by this company are the best I've ever used. Hear that Santa?