Drum Carding – How Many Times Through?

blue battWhen just starting out on the drum carder, a common question is:  How many times should I put the fiber through the carder?  The answer isn’t easy, it depends….

  1. If your fiber is really clean and prepared and you aren’t blending, you can card it just one time.
  2. If your fiber still has a fair amount of vegetable matter, but you are just using one type of fiber, you will want to pass it through a couple of times.  The carding will help pick out the vegetable matter.
  3. If your fiber has become somewhat matted, send it through a couple of times.
  4. If you are blending different fibers, you’ll want to send it through a couple of times.  The first time to get everything nice and straight, the second time to get it nicely blended and sandwiched together.
  5. If you are blending colors, you can send it through 2-3 times; more to get a semi-solid look, less if you want the fiber to have obvious different colors.  Beware, if you card it too many times, you will get a mud color just like paint.
  6. If you card too much, you will tend to get nibs (looks like lumps of felted fiber) the same result if you agitate fiber when washing it.

Make sure to cover the entire area of the drums and stop when the fiber starts to peak over the top of the tines of the teeth.  If you add too much fiber, the batt will wind up with ridges and valleys.



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