Saturday, April 19, 2008

Not so patiently waiting on my drum carder!

When I started this hobby it was an inexpensive one. In my early 20s I could make an afghan for under $15 using about 8-10 super-sized skeins of acrylic yarn. Now I can't think of much I'd use the stuff for.

My LYS has a bumper sticker that says, "Friends don't let friends knit with acrylic!"

I wouldn't go that far. It serves a purpose. Blended with cotton it's a great choice for baby items that will need to be washed often. I use it to test patterns or ideas before I waste my precious silk/linen or other expensive fiber. Even then I'm picky about the acrylic I'll test with. I Love This Yarn is really the only one I can stand the feel of. I've heard people say the other acrylics soften up after washing but I can't confirm that.

I'm really not a yarn snob. I just can't imaging putting my heart and soul, not to mention all that time and effort, into something and not doing it with the nicest yarn I can afford.

I digress, well sort of. Yarn is expensive but making yarn is really expensive.

When I started hand-painting I used a niddy-noddy to skein from the cone. $25 wasn't too bad but hand-skeining gave me severe pain in my wrists, elbow and shoulder so I invested in an electric skein winder with a counter. Expensive but one of the best investments you can make if you do a lot of skeining.

Then I purchased a spinning wheel and taught myself to spin. Again, expensive but, in my opinion, well worth it . Spinning is my greatest stress reliever. The skein winder comes in very handy for removing my hand-spun yarn from the bobbin too. I am getting my money's worth out of that thing!

That should be enough right? Well that's what I thought but now I want to start carding my own fiber. Imagine the possibilities! I tried doing it by hand and didn't like the results. Quite frankly, I really hated doing it too. I didn't invest in hand carders but tried it first with dog slickers. I probably would have had better results with the proper tools but I disliked doing it so much and am glad I didn't invest the money. They are quite pricey for what they are!

I started searching the web for a drum carder. I was, to say the least, astonished at the cost. This would by far be one of my biggest investments. In my research I found a couple of tutorials on home made drum carders.

I gave it some thought. I'm somewhat handy. My favorite non-fiber tool is my compound miter saw but it's the most specialized tool I own. I might have to invest in other tools for the project and, the cost of the carding cloth is very expensive, around $5/inch. A cloth that would make a 20 inch batt would run around $100. Like I said, I'm somewhat handy. I know it would take at least two tries to get it right, at least.

I decided I wouldn't chance spending the money on something that may or may not work. I continued searching, every day, various web stores along with etsy and eBay, looking for a decent used one or a good deal on a new one. I finally came across a new one for a decent price from another etsy seller. I'm always happy to support another indy!

My only complaint is that she couldn't wiggle her nose and have it here instantly. I've already dyed 3 different types of fiber and purchased some Angelina fiber (another pricey item-$5/.25g) in eager anticipation.

It's a good thing I haven't learned to weave. I've already checked the price of looms and wow! Who knows what the future holds though.

Off to spin!

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