Introduction: Carding Fiber
The difference between carded and un-carded Alpaca fiber can be seen here. On the left is raw, off the animal and un-washed while on the right is still unwashed, it has been carded on a drum carder.
Step 1: Raw Un-carded Alpaca Fleece.
Take as freshly shorn fleece and remove as much foreign or vegetable matter from the fleece as possible. At this point you can wash Alpaca fleece, but you can also choose to card it before washing. In this lesson - I have not washed this fleece, but will wash it once it gets into yarn form.
Step 2: Prepping for the Carder
After some pre-cleaning, take a handful of fiber at a time and open up the fiber to allow it to be sorted through the first drum of the carding machine. Once you have pulled open your fiber, you start to feed into the carder as shown.
Step 3: Filling the Back Drum of the Carder
Continue to feed fiber in to the carder until the back drum is full. As illustrated, there will be a point when you will not be able to feed more fiber into the carder without more getting carded into the front drum. At which point, you will need to remove your fiber from the back drum.
Step 4: Pulling the Fiber Off the Carder
Taking a took like the one on the left, and insert it into the given space on the drum carder. Separate the fiber from the circular drum by pulling apart at the line that separates the teeth on the large drum. You can see in the given images how to start pulling a full sheet of fiber off.
Step 5: Pulling Fiber Away From Carder
Slowly draw fiber from one side to the other off the drum.
Step 6: Sheet of Fiber Ready for Spinning.
Once carded and removed from the carder, the fiber can then be ready for spinning or ready for felting. To store - lay carded fleece on clean ground, then lay tissue paper between layers of carded fleece. Repeat steps 1 - 5 until given fiber or fleece is finished.