Tools of the Trade: Picking and Carding

I took the plunge and purchased a larger, manual drum carder from Clemes & Clemes at Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat this past weekend.

Why?  I have been wanting an electric drive drum carder since the early 90’s.  I debated if it was an expense I really wanted to take on, but when I get set on something I just go for it.  The Clemes & Clemes Elite Convertible can be changed over to electric.  I probably would have purchased the whole bit if he had had the electric kit to go with it.


I already have a Louet Jr drum carder and it works just fine, but the size of the batts that are coming off the new drum carder are amazing.

We all have our tools for spinning.  A spindle or wheel, maybe hand cards or wool combs.  It’s just part of who we are and what we do.  I am hoping with this larger drum carder I can process the fleeces I purchase with ease and swiftness.

Again, when I started spinning in the early 90’s, I wanted so many things that as a young parent I just could not afford.  One of the tools was a Patrick Green Wool Picker.  I found one in a book by Paula Simmons that made my heart go pitter-patter.  Alas, that never came to be.   It was hand picking for me.

In 2012, I found this wonderfully made, easy to store, you won’t take a finger off as nearly as quick as a Patrick Green picker-picker. It just opens up those locks quick as a wink and captures the bits in the bottom than can be easily disposed of.  I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in buying one.  The seller is Kaydessa on Etsy. Very reasonable in price for a tool you will use forever!


I washed this Romney lamb fleece, Dixie’s Girl, last week.  It was ready for a bit of picking and carding.


Here is the first batt off the drum carder after only two passes.  By the third pass, the licker didn’t  even pick up any of the thrums.  Happy dance.


I could easily send the wool out to a mill for processing.  The downside to that is the processing fee for one fleece could be in the $100 range along with shipping and the time-frame.  Well, I just don’t want to wait five months to have my fleece returned to me.

I have no grand plans to make batts and sell them, just like I don’t spin and sell my yarn.  It’s just something I do, something I enjoy and something I can share with my fiber friends.

What processes do you do?  Do you like to process wool from start to finish or do you prefer to purchase rovings, natural or indie-dyed for you spinning pleasure?

No matter your style, I hope you find the right tools of the trade for you.

Card on!

One response to “Tools of the Trade: Picking and Carding”

  1. Never hear of Romney Sheep. Do you think it was named after George Romney (1734 – 1802) who was the first cousin of Miles Romney, who is an ancestor of the two-time presidential candidate.

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