My general carding technique was this: I would take one small combed top at a time, open it up, shake it a bit to remove any twist. I then pre-drafted it lengthwise (just as if I were going to spin it – this strategy helps to make the fibers as loose as possible), and then I broke the top into two long pieces. I then put the pieces side-by-side onto the uptake table of the drum carder, opening up the fibers sideways a bit to make sure I had a thin layer of fiber. Then I would card the top onto the drum very slowly. I only made one pass on the drum carder for each batt.
For the first two batts, I selected the combed tops randomly, so that the batt was made of very thin layers of different colors of grey.
Now, my original idea was to make batts that would spin up into a nice variegated yarn. I was a little concerned that the strategy I chose for combining colors in the first two batts would result in too continous of a color of medium grey, with very little variegation.
So, for the second two batts, I changed my tune: I added the tops to the batts in order of darkest grey to lightest grey. I’m hoping this strategy will result in the variegation I have in my mind’s eye.
Here’s a picture of the four batts (the top two batts were done first using the thin-layer strategy; the bottom two batts used the from-darkest-to-lightest strategy):
I’ll spin the first two batts onto one bobbin, the second two batts onto a second bobbin, and then ply them together.
I’m a bit concerned that 3 ounces will not make quite enough yarn for a pair of socks. And I expressed this concern to Sylvia (my friend, not the wool). She graciously provided me with 3 more ounces of already combed “Sylvia” (the wool, not my friend). She did her combing with Alvin Ramer Super Mini Combs (available through The Wheel Thing). Both Sylvia and another friend, Joan, own these combs, and they both absolutely love them.
My plan is to spin this wool directly from the tops, and not card them. I will try to keep the colors separate so I’ll end up with small amounts of solid colored yarns of various colors of grey…which I will use on the cuffs and/or heels and/or toes of the socks.
Here’s a picture of the extra fiber that Sylvia gave me: