Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Carding Fiber Batts

Handcarding is a great experience for kids...easy, colorful, tactile and fun!

Phoenix Batt Carded by Wilson (available in our Etsy shop)

Making our own fiber batts is something that we do when we want to spin up crazy yarns, or sell them online or at shows. We also have demonstrated how to card and spin in classrooms and at conferences.

Mommy demonstrating carding to a 4th grade class at Rail Ranch Elementary in Murrieta, CA when she was the school principal -- kids loved watching the drum carder in action!

Sometimes we give them interesting names, like "Arsenic", "Phoenix", or "Hamadryad".
"Hamadryad" "Phoenix"

Once in a while, we needlefelt or wet felt with our batts.
Joey carded a batt and then needlefelted hearts for Valentine's Day pins
Joey and Mommy went to Camp Pluckyfluff a few years back and learned how to card up crazy batts, full of all sorts of fibers!

Crazy batt made by Joey at Camp Pluckyfluff -- this became a crazy yarn, and then was crocheted into a crazy scarf!
Wilson likes the tiny hand carders! He sometimes tries the larger hand carders, but they are heavy.

All of us take turns using the Fancy Kitty, hand-crank drum carder.
Joey's batts for wet felting a scarf, spinning into yarn then crocheting a Think Pink scarf donation, and spinning into a sparkle rainbow fairy yarn that sold on Etsy
If you would like to get started carding, buy some basic wool fiber from a local farm, yarn shop, or online. Practice with hand carders and then consider purchasing a drum carder. The objective is to pull the fibers apart, combing them into one direction that will be easy to pull apart and spin on a spindle or spinning wheel. Take a lesson on how to do this, or find a fiber artist to observe carding. Play around with combining colors, dyeing your own fiber before carding, or carding a variety of fibers (tencel, bamboo, tinsel, etc.). If you want to get into the business of selling batts, you can even get an electric carder! Maybe we'll get one of those someday....
"Mercury" by Ricky Wilson made this batt and is spinning it on his spindle


themagiconions said...

I love that rainbow bats... Our school had a carding wheel and the kids had such fun choosing their colors to add. We wet felted the bats into balls for them. Was a lovely project. Thanks for sharing.
Blessings and magic.

Lisa said...

This looks like a lot of fun! It is so cool that your kids are just as into it as you are! Have a great day!

MamaRose said...

They look so beautiful! I've been wanting to learn for quite some time how to card AND spin. Since we're a couple of hours away, maybe I can make a day trip to a class if you offer any?

Southern Lady's Vintage said... this!! Great fun!

Tan Family said...

Hi MamaRose! I love teaching lessons to families, so if you are interested, let me know. We can do just carding, or carding and spinning. We will have some workshops coming up this year, too, so stay tuned! :) --Jennifer

Jen said...

It was so sweet to see Joey a few years ago - what a cutie! And was that little Wilson in the carding shot with you and the class? So seet :) I was just thinking how much I'd LOVE the Hamadryad wool for a felting project I have in mind. I'm off to check your shop to take more of a looky-loo! Fun post, Jennifer and we'd love to join MamaRose in a class! Will you be posting on your blog or somewhere else?
Have a great your posts, as always :)

Tan Family said...

Hi Jen! Yea, that's Wilson in the picture at my school demonstration. He was pretty small there! I will post on the blog when we do upcoming workshops, and eventually we'll have all of the info. on our upcoming site. Thanks for the nice comments! You made my day.

MamaRose said...

Hooray...I very much look forward to finally learning! Thank you Jennifer!!

lisa/poppy flower fibers said...

What fun for kids!!! Great idea!

Kathleen Scott said...

Rolling through your post was a visual banquet, now my mind feels spun with color. Think I'll come take another stroll before I go to be tonight so I can have color dreams.

Your way of teaching your kids by doing is wonderful. Their brains and confidence fill every day.