A few days ago, my new Little Brother Electric Drum Carder arrived. It is wonderful and it is a beautiful thing to look at as well as to use.
The craftsmanship is superb. The woodwork has all been well made and polished. The motor is surprisingly quiet to operate. I have used electric carders in the past, and after a few minutes of use, the drone of the motor would get very irritating. And it is very easy to use. The carder has a variable speed motor that operates smoothly and easily with a gentle turn of the button. The drum carder also has a reverse function, that makes it simple to remove the completed batt from the back of the drum.
The drum carders come in a range of widths and sizes. I purchased the smaller one – the Little Brother. It has an 8 inch drum width and will make an 8 inch x 22 inch batt. The amount of fibre that it will hold can vary depending on what type of fibre you are using and how well you pack it in while carding. So far, I have managed to card about 50 grams onto the drum, but I think I could add more (perhaps 100 gr) if I card and pack carefully.
The drums also come with a range of carding cloth sizes.
54 TPI (teeth per inch) – good for carding art batts and thicker wools, 72 TPI, 90 TPI, 120 TPI and 190 TPI (for super fine fibres). If you work with different weights of fibres, you can also add additional interchangeble drums.
I purchased the 120 TPI size, because I mostly work with finer fibres, such as merino, alpaca, silk and also the vegan viscose fibres such as Bamboo, soya silk, tencel and other cellulose tops and roving.
I found the carder extremely easy to use, first time. The soft bamboo and soya silk that I carded tend to be very light and fluffy, and some of the fibre was catching on the small licker drum. The distance between the licker drum and the larger swift drum is easily adjustable. I unscrewed the 4 bolts and gave the adjustment screws a slight turn, to add a bit more space between the drums. This solved my problem of the fibre grabbing onto the licker.
For my first set of batts, I blended some dyed bamboo, soya silk and Pearl Infused Cellulose. I rolled these into small punis, and will be spinning this as a singles, and Navajo plying the yarn to add extra texture.
The flowers are in full bloom in my garden right now. A small patch of Petunias and Nasturtiums gave me the inspiration for my second blended batt. I used Commercially dyed Bamboo, hand dyed soya silk and some tencel for this fibre blend.
Brother Drum Carders
Gabriel at Brother Drumcarders was extremely helpful when I placed my order. The carder was shipped almost immediately. There was however, a very long delay with USPS postal service, as it took about 2 weeks to move the carder from Oregon to the International shipping location of San Francisco. Once there, the carder was onto the plane and arrived at Heathrow the next day. Then a few days delay at Parcel Force while they determined the standard VAT customs duties I had to pay.
The carder does come with an adapter so that it works on UK 220 power outlets. I switched the 2 prong plug that came with the unit, to a cable that had been on one of my old printers – so it now plugs in correctly into 3 prong UK plugs.