You may remember that the hubs bought me a drum carder. Apart from trying it on the day it arrived, it has been sitting forlornly on the end of the dining room table while I carried on felting other projects. Well, today I actually used it. I want to make a pair of slipper socks for the hubs. I was thinking something neutral, like grey. When looking through my stash, I saw that I don’t have much of the natural grey to make a pair of slippers. However, I do have 100g of humbug from World of Wool. I thought I could blend it with the grey alpaca that I know will felt well with merino.
The humbug is on the left and the alpaca on the right.
A word about this humbug – it is a grey with natural white in wide stripes. This type of roving is meant to be used for spinning. Although it will felt extremely well, it is not great for laying out in an interesting pattern unless you are making cobweb scarves and spread out the roving sideways. I wrote about that when I made my lace neck warmers. I bought it because it was on offer and thought I might use it for a bag, hat or a pair of slippers as an inside layer.
I watched loads of videos on carding wool. One lady color blends her tops from the top of the drum. This makes a lot of sense as she was using commercially prepared tops. This is similar to blending on a blending board, except you get a larger batt and you don’t end up with wool stuck in the licker drum. This method works really well; as you turn the drum, it picks up the roving. You just need to move it across the drum as it turns or you can make stripes. Since I wanted to blend the wool with the alpaca, I started with a layer of wool and then a layer of alpaca and so on and finishing with a layer of wool. This is what I got.
The batt came off very easily off of the drum. It is extremely soft and fluffy. Although it looks good here, it still needed another pass as the fiber was all in layers. I divided up the batt into 4 sections and then did a second pass from the top of the drum. This time, the drum was picking up all of the layers from the end in one go as I dragged it across the drum.
Here it is completed. It is difficult to see the difference between the first and second pass, but the alpaca (which was a blue grey shade) is more blended with the merino fibers. I also do not have any white stripes. I just need to pull it apart and braid it so that it is nice and tidy until I am ready to felt with it. I do have a lot more wool in here than alpaca as I want to make sure it shrinks enough when making the slipper socks. It is a good way of stretching out wool and using up the alpaca I still have loads of!