Which Carding option is Right for me?

by Pinky Wittingslow March 15, 2019

Which Carding option is Right for me?

Which Carding Option is Right for me?

We have several options for carding your fibre and it really all depends on what you want to achieve by carding. Are you processing a raw fleece, maybe you would like to blend some coloured rolags or perhaps you would like to make a batt for felting?


In this article, we will look at our carding products and their purpose and match them to your projects and fibre.

HAND CARDERS

Hand Carders

Hand Carders are wonderful portable options for hand carding and come with either a 72ppsi or 108ppsi carding cloth. They are handy when processing smaller batches of fibre at a time and making loose rolags for woolen style spinning.

FLICK CARDER

Fick Carder

The Flick Carder is designed for opening up tips on fleece staples. It’s a great little tool when processing small batches of raw fleece at a time that you want to spin in the grease for a worsted style yarn. It’s also handy for opening up tips on cleaned locks before feeding through a drum carder.

DRUM CARDERS

Drum Carder

Drum Carders are the workhorses of the carding world, they allow you to blend and card fibre quicker and in larger quantities than hand carding. You can make Batts and Roving using a drum carder.

BLENDING BOARD

Blending Board

Blending Boards are designed specifically for creating repeatable blends, tight rolags and multi-directional panels for felting. It is not really a carder but it does hold fibres in place and helps to straighten them out when drafting off your rolags.  

SELECTING THE RIGHT PPSI

Once you have an idea of the tool you might want to use, you need to select a ppsi.  What is ppsi I hear you ask? It’s the measurement that refers to the number of Points Per Square Inch of the carding cloth on your tool. The points are those stainless steel bristles sticking up out of the red rubber backing of the cloth. Sometimes these points are also referred to ‘Tines’ or ‘Teeth’ and so you may come across the term ‘TPI’ when talking about carding cloth. So long as the measurement is Per Square Inch you can figure out what size you need no matter what you want to call the Points.  

Note that often, Ashford abbreviates this ppsi acronym down when describing Carder Cloth to just 'points' or sometimes 'ppi'. So, you might look at our Drum Carders and see that it has either a 72 point cloth or a 120 point cloth. Hand carders have either a 72 psi cloth or 108 psi cloth.

Now we know what ppsi, how does it help us? Well, that depends on your fibre.

For very fine fibres such as low micron Merino, Cashmere and Angora which are 19 micron or less, you need a carding cloth with more points per inch. So a 120 point cloth would be best because points spread further apart just wouldn’t get in between those very fine fibres to open them up and cause clumping or ‘neps’ in your batt.

For higher micron fibres such as Corriedale a 72 point cloth is great with just the right spacing for good blending as they would clump up on the finer cloth. 

While there are other Carding Cloth sized in the world Ashford only currently uses 3 on their products; 120 point, 108 point and 72 point.  Here is a table of Ashford carding tools and the common fibres Ashford recommends for each cloth size:

 

Product

Included Carding Cloth PPSI

Fibres processed with this product.

Flick Carder

72 point

For processing locks in small batches. Used to open up the tips of a staple ready for spinning. Can spin in the grease and is the best way of preparing a raw fleece and spinning a true worsted yarn.

Hand Carders Classic 72ppi

72 point

Good for carding and blending raw or clean fleece of 20 microns +. Good for making loose rolags. Requires you to attach handles with a Philips head screwdriver when you buy them.

Hand Carders Classic 108ppi

108 point

Good for carding and blending raw or clean fine fleece of 19 microns and under. Good for making loose rolags. Requires you to attach handles with a Philips head screwdriver when you buy them.

Student Carders 72ppi

72 point

Good for carding and blending raw or clean fleece of 20 microns +. Good for making loose rolags. Solid 1 piece construction with a curve makes them very durable and easier for learners.

Small Carders 72 ppi

72 point

Just like the Larger Classic Hand carders but lighter and easier to use for smaller hands or those who tire easier. Good for carding and blending raw or clean fleece of 20 microns +. Good for making loose rolags. Requires you to attach handles with a Philips head screwdriver when you buy them.

Small Carders 108ppsi

108 point

Just like the Larger Classic Hand carders but lighter and easier to use for smaller hands or those who tire easier. Good for carding and blending raw or clean fleece of 19 microns and under. Good for making loose rolags. Requires you to attach handles with a Philips head screwdriver when you buy them.

Blending Board

108 point

Designed specifically for blending fibres to make tight rolags, mini art batts or multi-directional batts for felting. It comes with the finer cloth so you can blend in luxury fibres such as silk. It still works with higher micron fibres as you aren’t really carding; you are arranging fibres, tapping them into the points and gently smoothing them down with the included brush. the blending board is for working with processed sliver, not raw fleece that hasn’t been carded. This product is excellent for felters.

Drum Carder Fine

72 point

Designed to produce a smooth even batt with fibres 20micron + ready for blending, spinning or felting. Blend sliver, colours and different fibre types consistently into an open and airy batt of approximately 50grams of fibre at a time. Sandwich luxury and exotic fibres between fleece before feeding into the carder or drizzle straight onto the drum from above. Batts can also be pulled into roving straight from the carder using a diz. Not recommended for raw unwashed fleece as it is difficult to clean the grease off the cloth. Wash raw fleece before carding.

Drum Carder Super Fine

120 point

Designed to produce a smooth even batt with fibres 19 micron or less ready for blending, spinning or felting. Blend sliver, colours and luxury fibre types consistently into an open and airy batt of approximately 50grams of fibre at a time. Sandwich luxury and exotic fibres between fleece before feeding into the carder or drizzle straight onto the drum from above. Batts can also be pulled into roving straight from the carder using a diz. Not recommended for raw unwashed fleece as it is difficult to clean the grease off the cloth. Wash raw fleece before carding.

Drum Carder Wide

72 point

This big boy is the same as the Drum Carder Fine, just wider for double the fibre processing power. It is best for those processing large amounts of fibre at a time. Designed to produce a smooth even batt with fibres 20micron + ready for blending, spinning or felting. Blend sliver, colours and different fibre types consistently into an open and airy batt of approximately 100grams of fibre at a time. Sandwich luxury and exotic fibres between fleece before feeding into the carder or drizzle straight onto the drum from above. Batts can also be pulled into roving straight from the carder using a diz. Not recommended for raw unwashed fleece as it is difficult to clean the grease off the cloth. Wash raw fleece before carding.

Wild Drum Carder

72 point

This drum carder is very different to the others, while the cloth is 72 ppsi, the points are also extra long. This allows the carder to take in fibres with texture such as locks, fabric strips, threads, feathers paper and other novelty ingredients for wonderful wacky art batts. Depending on the fibres and other ingredients you use, you can card approximately 40g at a time.

So now you know your carding options which will you choose?

Hand Carders are a great place to start if you are unsure, you can try the different ppsi cloths with your different fibres. You get to see what works best before investing in a drum carder for faster carding of larger quantities.

If you spin in the grease you may just want a flick carder to open up your tips.

If you’re a multi-crafter like many of us are, you might be best with a 72ppi Drum Carder as it can handle the widest variety of fibres. Then if you have finer luxury fibres that just won’t go through your 72ppsi smoothly you can look at investing in a 108ppsi Hand Carder Set or 108ppsi Drum Carder depending on how much superfine fibre you need to process.

Other reasons to have multiple carding tools is if you are carding for anyone with allergies or who can’t use certain fibres. Some people are allergic to lanolin or are sensitive to the 'scratchiness' of sheep wool and can only wear alpaca and angora etc. While others may not appreciate animal fibres sneaking into a plant fibre batt for example; vegan customers. 

Common fibres and their suitable ppsi

While we give you a list below of which fibres are best suited for what ppsi, please keep in mind that not all fibres are created equal, there can be big variations in micron count between one fleece and another even of the same breed. And you can blend finer fibres in with coarse on a drum carder if you sandwich the fine fibre between two layers of coarser before feeding it through. Blending fine Angelina fibres into Merino or Corriedale is a good example of this.

This is a very general guide and we encourage you to test your fibre for yourself.

 

72 ppsi Carding Cloth

108 to 120 ppsi Carding Cloth

 

  • First fleeces from young animals
  • Merino
  • Some Rambouillet
  • Camel
  • Yak down
  • Possum fur
  • Angora rabbit
  • Cashmere
  • Wallaby
  • Qiviut
  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Cotton
  • Tencel
  • Many Man-made cellulose fibres such as rayon, bamboo, soy and mint.


We hope that this has helped you discover what type of carding tool you need or even given you the confidence to try something new. Remember that not one ppsi will work perfectly for every fibre but, for the most part, a pair ranging from 72-108 ppsi will work on most wool to get you started.

FAQ's on Carding - we receive some great questions on carding and have put them in one place for you HERE

Please also remember that Ashford DO NOT RECOMMEND you card greasy fleece on your drum carder, they are an ‘investment level’ piece of equipment. It is best to stick to dedicated Hand Carders or a Flicker if you want to process raw fleece.

If you want to know how to clean a raw fleece before carding check out our How to wash a raw fleece blog HERE.

Book of Carding

For more information on carding techniques, we highly recommend the Ashford Book of Carding which shows you how to use each carding option and how to blend fibres together for wonderful effects. This book is available on our website HERE.

We hope this article has made it super easy for you to select the right carding equipment for your needs.

 

Click to join our community over on Facebook

Use htis hashtag to share your creations with us on Instagram

Feeling Inspired?

SHOP SUPPLIES


Love Aunt Jenny xo

Pinky Wittingslow
Pinky Wittingslow

Pinky is a serial crafter who has devoted her life to making and teaching all things textiles because she truly believes we can craft ourselves to better health and a better world.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Sugar Free Handmade Easter treats
Sugar Free Handmade Easter treats

by Pinky Wittingslow March 29, 2019

Hand made tastes best, using the finest ingredients we have a few sugar free treats to inspire you this Easter. xx Aunt Jenny

Read More
What reed do I need?
What reed do I need?

by Pinky Wittingslow December 12, 2018

How do you know what reed you need? We show you step by step how to firstly measure your equipment for the right fit and then provide you with a guide for selecting the right DPI reeds for your project.
Read More
Introducing the new Kiwi 3
Introducing the new Kiwi 3

by Cheryl Scanlan November 30, 2018

Ashford's most popular wheel - the Kiwi - has evolved!

The new Kiwi 3 has folding treadles, timber veneered MDF wheel, three speed whorl and a wooden threading hook! With all the great features of the Kiwi 2, the enhanced Kiwi 3 will be even more in demand from new and experienced spinners everywhere.

Read More

Join the community