Healing Handcrafting

exploring process and healing through fiber arts and handcrafting

Carding Wool is No Joke!

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I’ve gotten a bit behind in documenting the wonderful work my daughter’s class did in their woolen adventures. A few weeks ago, the “job” for the day was to card their beautiful, dyed wool. I wanted to share a bit about how we did it and how these young five and six-year olds fared.

For the activity that day, I brought in my Fancy Kitty Drum Carder, which I love and adore. I was careful with it, and I had some rules: no touching it without me being right there, don’t crank it as fast as you can, no fingers on the carding cloth, and have fun! I also brought in some mini-hand carders (for this project I actually used small dog brushes (these are not the exact ones I used, but they are similar). I KNOW! CHEESY! But listen, they worked fine for this project, and they were affordable given the quantity I needed.) I brought in my regular sized Ashford Hand Carders as well.

The way we organized the class that day was to show a brief slide show talking about carding and what it actually means. Then, I met with about five children at a time. Around a table, they all had locks to start fluffing out. Once enough fiber was fluffed, I taught them how to load the hand-carders. While three students used the hand carders, one  fluffed more wool, and the other started the process of carding on the drum carder. They all rotated through all of the jobs. I provided coloring pages for the kids who were waiting for their turn to card.

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I have to say, the drum carder stole the show. Not one of the students was unimpressed with that tool, and all wanted to use it more. I wished I could have given them more time on it! The children were in agreement that adding different colors to the drum carder batt was the way to go, so by the time we got to the very last student, we had a gorgeous tutti-fruity looking batt that I wanted to spin so bad! Oh, the self-control!

I think that the kids really got to appreciate the time, patience and purpose behind carding wool. They all seemed to feel like they had put in a good day’s work, including my daughter, who’s seen this all a bunch. I was so proud of them.

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Author: healinghandcrafting

I am a psychologist and a fiber enthusiast. I have a deep interest in the healing effects of handcrafting, and its place in our common histories.

6 thoughts on “Carding Wool is No Joke!

  1. What a wonderful lesson–you planned it so well for success!

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  2. There’s something so cathartic about fibers. I’m interested in learning more about your work. My husband always jests, “She doesn’t pay herself to make yarn, but the value in therapy from the wheel alone is worth her time.” So true, right?! 🙂

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    • So true! When I first started spinning, I remember feeling like I’d just meditated! Once I’d learned how, of course. I love it all. I don’t have my own sheep but I love getting raw fleeces and going through the whole process from skirting to spinning. It’s so grounding and forces me to slow down. There’s no choice in the matter. Your blog is gorgeous, btw! I’d love to talk shop. Thank you so much for writing.

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      • Yes, I have been trying for the past few years to grasp what it is about the process, but I think it’s like you said – slowing down for each step and creating something beautiful. We’re so used to a quick-fix type of modern lifestyle, that I think we crave the old process. Have you read Women’s Work, the first 20,000 years? It’s a really neat look at the history of women working with fiber. So fascinating.

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      • I haven’t yet, but I’ve heard of it. I think I read about it on Story Skeins blog. Have you seen it? It’s wonderful.

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