Handy advice to use a flick carder on fleece

An exceptionally clean and open fleece can be spun with no further preparation, but most fleeces need to be opened out first in a process called carding. The easiest carder to use is a flick carder which is a series of bent metal wires mounted on a handle.

Handy advice to use a flick carder on fleece

How to use a flick carder

  1. Place a piece of leather or some firm fabric on one knee.
  2. Take several staples out of the fleece and hold them tightly at the cut end with your left hand against the leather.
  3. Take the flick carder in your right hand. Hit the carder down onto the tips of the staple with a flick of your wrist.
  4. Keep tapping the wool, gradually working down towards the cut end, being careful not to puncture your left hand.
  5. Do not pull the carder through the wool as you would when combing your hair — this will result in a tangled mess
  6. .The staples should begin to open out into a fan shape as you card the wool.
  7. The tips of the staples, which are usually the dirtiest, will need the most attention. After you have hit the wool with the carder, a small tug outwards is often necessary to loosen these tips.
  8. When one side of the staple is carded into a fan, turn it over and card the other side.
  9. Hold the wool by the carded end and give the cut ends a cursory flick to open them out.
  10. If you end up with a tangle, you are either carding too much wool at once or not holding the staples tightly enough.
  11. The only wool left on the carder should be short combings known as noils. Clean this off with an old comb before starting to card the next lot.

Not only is flick carding the easiest method for novice spinners, it is also the correct way of preparing wool for worsted spinning, where all the fibres lie flat and parallel. Follow these steps and you will be a master in no time.

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