Hi. I'm a little confused about the term "carded wool". Every tutorial I've seen for how to card wool says that the carding process aligns wool fibers so they lay in the same direction, which is what happens when I hand card wool. However, advice for buying wool for needle felting says to buy carded wool, which means the wool fibers are layered in several different directions. The two descriptions of "carded" seem contradictory. I know I can use a blending board to create batts of fibers that are in different directions, but that doesn't come out looking like the already carded wool I buy for needle felting. Is there actually a carding process that lays fibers in different directions?
Post by Ann @ frabjous fabrica on Dec 17, 2021 8:17:04 GMT
It is confusing. I think that hand carding may have a different result from machine carding. Certainly if you buy a machine carded batt the fibres are anything but aligned - especially if you compare a batt to "tops" which are actually combed so that the fibres do indeed align. (I've forgotten the US term for what we in the UK call tops). I suppose that hand carding does result in some aligned fibres, but in my experience not very much so. I have for many years been using tops in my needle felting. I do not subscribe to the idea that one should only use carded fibres for needle felting - I use whatever is to hand that is the right colour and gives me the effect I'm after - including yarns. I do quite often hand card my tops for needle felting, but most often this is because I'm blending colours to get particular shades. I tend to make lots of mini batts of different shades for a particular project, using my mini carders (dog combs).
There are so many terms used in felting/fiber that it at best is confusing. I find that batts work very well for needle felting and often the fibers are not fully aligned. My understanding of any type of carding is that it tends to align the fibers.
I personally wouldn't worry about the alignment of the fibers and just use the types of wool that work best for you.
Thank you all for your replies. You confirmed what I was guessing. I've found that I'm more likely to get "lines" or uneven texture if I needle felt aligned fibers, but maybe that's just in the way I felt. I tend to prefer smoother surfaces so I usually do something to change the fiber alignment. I'll either take tufts of roving and just pull the fibers around a bit with my fingers or I'll lightly card a small amount to give it more loft and then pull wool off perpendicular to the fiber alignment.
I also discovered a way of using a single hand carder to get a tiny batt of multi-directional fibers. When dragging roving over the carder, instead of pulling the roving across the carder to the point where the fibers are completely released from the roving, I pull fibers part way over the carder and then restart a new stroke, folding the fibers back onto themselves. I do this over and over with short strokes until the carder is full, and then I pull the tiny batt off the carder. Hope that made sense.
I'm going to try felting aligned fibers to see what kind of texture I get. Preferring smooth surfaces means spending a lot more time needle felting. And more texture would likely be more interesting in the kind of work I do.
Post by Ann @ frabjous fabrica on Dec 19, 2021 8:29:45 GMT
To get a smoother needle felted surface, try going over the area with finer needles and not poking too far in. A crown needle, which has only one row of barbs on it so doesn't need to be pushed in too far, helps with this. Then once you've got it as smooth as possible, try polishing the area with a bit of silk fabric or even a hard polished article, like a smooth pebble or piece of marble (or even your thumb nail if it is a tiny area). This helps to remove needle holes. You could also wet felt the area and get all the fibres to smooth themselves down, and or shave off the worst of the fuzz. That obviously depends upon what you are making. Again, depending upon what you are making and the effect you are trying to achieve, you could just coat the area in gesso or PVA glue and then file or sandpaper it when it is dry as I did with my octopus necklace. If you show us what you are doing we might be able to advise further.
It is very confusing. Carding does align the fibres but not the same way combing does. What combing does(combed top) is remove all the slubs and shorter fibres and it stretches the fibres. Carded wool comes in roving or batts. Carded wool is used to make wool yarn and top to make worsted yarn. I find you get lines with the finer fibres like merino. If you use Corriedale( even combed top) is not as bad and felts faster. I like roving or batts best.
if you have lots of merino you can try steaming it to get its crimp back. you can just bring some coiled loosely into the bathroom while you have a shower. Then let it dry. it's not perfect but it helps relax back to their natureal state after combing.
Most people selling fibre do not seem to know the difference between roving and top. and so use the words interchangeably.
trying to find roving is very hard. Batts are more available now. Usually from small producers but some of the big ones are selling them now too