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Introducing Mr. Drum Carder

Last spring, about five minutes before it became apparent that we were going to be moving at the same time we were planning a wedding, which also turned out to be the same time we found out we were having a baby, I bought a drum carder!

I’m sure you probably noticed it when I showed you pictures of my new studio a few weeks back, but here’s a recap.
new studio
There he is!

Hello Mr. Drum Carder
Mr Drum Carder

When I bought this machine almost a year ago now, I had great aspirations to become the best batt maker in the world! I was going to sell millions of them to needy spinners and felters everywhere! If you’ve visited my shop lately, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t have any batts listed for sale. That’s because it turns out I kind of suck at drum carding. I’ve made a few batts here and there over the past few months, but I’m not satisfied. I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Here’s one from the side:
one of my first batts side
I like the way the blending turned out, but if I saw a listing for this guy, my first thought would be, “Eh, looks a little thin.” That’s because it’s not even 2 oz. Kind of a dinky batt. But when I was making it, I could have sworn that I had my drum as full as it could go. And I know I should be able to make a batt that’s at least 3.5 oz on this carder.

Here’s the top view:
one of my first batts top
From this view, my problem seems to be that I’m loading up the sides, but neglecting the middle, though I couldn’t have told you that while it was on the drum. Hour glass figures are not flattering on a batt, especially not one for sale.

I’ve been busy enough the past few months to get away with avoiding Mr. Drum Carder. It was in a box in the basement half the time I owned it, so it was easy to forget that I just wasn’t all that great at drum carding. But as I’ve been unpacking, I’ve been rediscovering all of my raw fiber. Take this mohair for instance,
bags o mohair
it really wants to be blending with some silk and fine wool. It’s begging to be, in fact.

So I’ve been doing a little bit of research, and watching some youtube videos, trying to figure out if I’m doing something wrong, or if I just need a little bit more practice, and all signs pointed to just needing to get to know my machine more. Then I came across Sideways, and it was like the Yarn Harlot was telling my story.

Next time, maybe I’ll actually card something!

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