How to use hand cards to prepare wool for spinning into yarn.
The key to making carding easy is not to put too much fibre on it. A small handful of wool, allow the tips of the fibre to catch in the teeth of the card, and then gently pull.
Here's the card fully loaded. You notice how most of the fibre is at or hanging over the edge of the card? That's good.
The next thing you do is to catch the end of the fibre with the end of the second card.
Can you see how far apart the two cards are?
It's just like combing long hair, you start at the ends, then move slowly up. Catch a bit of the wool, move the cards apart, catch a bit of the wool, move the cards apart. Remember the goal of this is to organize the fibre, NOT to move the fibre back and forth between the cards as quickly as possible. I think I need to say this again, only in bold, because it is really important! The goal of this is to organize the fibre, NOT to move the fibre back and forth between the cards as quickly as possible.
So by now, you've carded all the fibres that were hanging over the edge of the first card. Now comes the tricky part. If we were to just continue the same motion, we would have the two cards rubbing teeth - we don't want that. So we hold the first card stationary (yes, I know I switched hands in the photos, sorry for the confusion) and move the second card in a rocking motion so that it lifts up just the end of the fibre.
Once the tips of the fibre are lifted up, and the cards are not touching each other anymore, we can pull apart the two cards, thus untangling the fibre and not rubbing the two cards together. Continue doing this until the fibre is moved to the other card... but slowly and concentrate on organizing the fibre, not speed. Speed will come with practice, but is useless unless it gets the desired effect.
Also for this, I find if I use my wrists too much, they tire quickly. So I usually engage my whole arm, keeping wrist and elbow semi-ridged. If something starts to fatigue, I put the cards down (where they won't accidently damage anyone) and stretch. You know, repetitive motion stuff, bla,bla,&c.
This is after the first pass on the cards. Much more fluffy than before, but still a bit tangled. So let's do it again.
After the second pass:
It looks ready to go. At this stage you can choose how you want to organize the fibre: flat, rolag, or worsted-style rolag. For this yarn, a traditional rolag works well.