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 Ok can we talk about DRUM carders, hand cards, and
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KCShaw
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2006 :  5:16:27 PM  Show Profile Send KCShaw a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I dont like standing for long periods of time, nor should I over stress my wrists and joints....Good point! Im all good, but i do have some problems if i get my joints over active. The hand carders I just haven't been able to achieve the blends of color and fibers I want in larger quanities like Id like to. Im good with 4 oz or so then I start noticing my wrist complaining a bit not to mention I notice my attention span beginning to get taxed as well. No kids here..electric actually sounds good, didn't think of that TYT!
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  06:22:53 AM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have the Strauch Petite. For what I do (fiber blending) it is fine. Small size, not too expensive. It is great for blending already prepared fibers.

The biggest advantage/disadvantage of the Strauch carders is the fact that the special licker-in (small drum) does not collect short fibers. Now this is a great thing if you are blending already prepared fibers. No waste. But is is not so great when carding (less than prime) picked fleece from the lock. You have to be super vigilant about removing any second cuts of crap or else it will get carded into the batt. So I am not so sure that the Strauch carders are the best for processing picked fleece, although I am sure there are others out there that would disagree with me.

If I had to do it all over again, and decided to spend a little more money, I would get myself a Pat Greene Carder. Probably the Deb's Delicate Deluxe. Because the Pat Greene carders do hold all that crap and second cuts back on the small drum, they stay out of the batt. Yes, the small drum does need to be cleaned more often, but that means it is doing its job. This is one of the biggest complaints that I hear about the Pat Greene carders, but I see it as a big plus. I want my batt to be perfect.

So, and this is just my opinion, if you are blending already prepared fibers or processing perfect fleece, the Strauch is a nice carder. For the amount and type of blending I do the Petite is fine for me. If you are going to process large quantities of less than prime fleece, then get the Pat Greene. (BTW the Pat Greene is great for blending as well, and one of their carders is used by Deb Menz in her "Color in Spinning" book.)

Jim
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KCShaw
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  12:25:58 PM  Show Profile Send KCShaw a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am ordering semi picked fleece fairly clean. Sheep are little magnets so even the cleanest has little bits. I have been lucky with no sec cuts. I am getting my own sheep soon though and I'll try... but I imagine my sheep will lose blankets and run abandon every chance they get. So the Stauch doesnt remove any of that? Or does it need to pass thru a few times to get it removed?

I will also have some prepared fibers, mohair, silks etc, these I want to bledn with prepared fibers, so fro that sounds like Stauch is perfect then...But thanks Jim, for pointing out...I will ahve some not so perfectly clean fleece to deal with as well.
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  7:10:27 PM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"So the Stauch doesnt remove any of that? Or does it need to pass thru a few times to get it removed?"

I am talking about second cuts, not VM. I don't count on my carder to pick out VM, although some of it may/will fall out as the fiber is carded. There is a difference between the Pat Greene and the Strauch in how it handles second cuts and "stray fibers", at least from what I have seen.

Jim
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knottyknitter
Permanent Resident

USA
3702 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  7:36:47 PM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jim - and what might that difference be? Please elaborate:) I'm asking for a drum carder for my birthday and want to make sure I make the right decision. Despite living in a populated area, with an excellent fiber store, there is only one model I can try as that's all they carry. Thanks!

My blog at KristiKnits.com
[img]http://www.kristiknits.com/images/KristiKnits_Logo_Green.gif[/img]
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  04:50:38 AM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The biggest advantage, and disadvantage, of the Strauch carders is the fact that the special licker-in (small drum) does not collect short fibers. Now this is a great thing if you are blending already prepared fibers. No waste. But it is not so great when carding (less than prime) picked fleece from the lock. You have to be super vigilant about removing any second cuts or else it will get carded into the batt. Because the Pat Greene carders do hold the second cuts back on the small drum, they stay out of the batt. Yes, the small drum does need to be cleaned more often, but that means it is doing its job.

Jim
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knottyknitter
Permanent Resident

USA
3702 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  09:30:43 AM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jim - thanks this helps. I'm actually leaning toward the Pat Green one - the one designed for Deb Menz, I believe. The Pat Greens are what is sold at my LYS and my spinning teacher loves them.

My blog at KristiKnits.com
[img]http://www.kristiknits.com/images/KristiKnits_Logo_Green.gif[/img]
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Fivefibers
Permanent Resident

USA
1131 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  2:23:36 PM  Show Profile Send Fivefibers a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I began to spin (about 15 years ago), I just HAD to have an Ashford carder. Well, I got one and have used it maybe 6 times! Too much effort required, IMO. Things had to be easier than this, I thought.

I got a medium-sized picker from Kokovoko. Wonderful! I can go through pure mohair in no time at all. I spin right from the picker. The only problem is, if you want to use it properly for various fibers, you have to re-adjust the frakking thing when changing from wool to mohair.

I keep it on my 'mohair' setting. :)

Fivefibers
2sheep; 3goats; 5bunnies
(so far)
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  5:28:48 PM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fivefibers has brought up a very good point. That is why I only blend prepared fibers. Just thin them out a bit and away I go. Much less work.

Picking fiber is a lot of work. Pickers make very short work of that. (They do scare the heck out of me, and I am used to many types of tools and equipment. This is not a tool that you want to get on the wrong side of!) If I was focused on prepping a lot of fiber from the lock, I would consider getting a picker. They are also great for blending fibers. I do like spinning from the clouds of fiber they create for certain types of yarn.

I made a deal with a bunch of folks in a fiber class back in college many years ago (I am sure I told this story before). We had an electric drum carder that everyone was terrified of (except me). If they would tag, wash and pick all the fleece (By hand! I wanted nothing to do with it!), I would card ALL of their fiber and mine. Nobody ever had to wait for their fiber to be carded, but I almost always had to wait for one of the group to get me my clean picked fleece so I could card mine.

You really have to consider all the points in fiber prep. One bottleneck can bring the whole process to a crawl. Some folks send their fiber out to processors just to get washed and picked so they only have to card it. Others let the preocessor do it all. And people like me just buy prepared fiber. I use my drumcarder for blending prepared fibers when I can't find what I am looking for or I want some arty colored/blended batts. (I am allergic to handcards, they give me a rash!)

Jim
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knottyknitter
Permanent Resident

USA
3702 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  5:42:32 PM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jim,
Again, thanks for sharing your expertise. I am mostly interested in a drum carder for blending prepared fiber that I either buy already dyed, or dye myself. In fact, I'll be taking a class to learn more about this at the upcoming Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I don't have any asparations of working with tons of raw fiber, that's for sure. I do have some dyed locks (quite a bit) that I bought from my mother's nex door neighbor, but I have a set of Viking combs that I got for Christmas that I'll be using to gradually make way through that.

My blog at KristiKnits.com
[img]http://www.kristiknits.com/images/KristiKnits_Logo_Green.gif[/img]
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  6:38:21 PM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Madrona Fiber Arts Festival! Wish we had something like that on the east coast. I've looked at their list of classes before and drooled. Have fun.

Jim
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KCShaw
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  6:50:59 PM  Show Profile Send KCShaw a Private Message  Reply with Quote
thanks Jim,
Next week Im heading to Ashland to go see some carders, The Stauch right now is it. I also know picking is not my favorite thing so maybe its time to send things to be prepared for me and just enjoy the blending more. I really appreciate all the input, it's a kinda big expense these thngs and I dont want to error and be stuck..TY!
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2007 :  3:46:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello,

I'm thinking about getting the Louet Junior (=Roving) - simply because it seems to have a number of advantages, including price. But I'm wondering - will I regret some day having a half-width carder (the big Louet is also available in France)?

On the one hand, 4 inches seems wide enough to me - when I'm spinning bought preparations, I generally split tops and batts into strips narrower than that. On the other hand - why are all the other carders double that width or more? What's the point of a large batt - what am I missing?

Thanks for your help! Klara
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2007 :  01:43:47 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Junior gives narrower batts, sure, but they`re thicker because of the longer wires/pins. I think the batts work out about the same weight wise to a standard width carder. I have a Junior, and I find it very good for making batts with lots of layers of different fibres...you can really stack on lots of variation.

The Louet carders do work slightly differently from other carders, btw...the longer, more flexible pins are meant to be more gentle on delicate fibres and the absence of a licker in tray means you control the feeding in of the fibres directly from your hand. I borrow my Guilds big wide Ashford carder when I have a lot of very similar fleece to card, but I prefer my own Junior for fancy blends.

I have to say though that the deep small drum is a pig to clean well between batches of fibres. You end up pulling the last remnants out with a crochet hook and tweezers. I don`t find the Ashford nearly so difficult to clean.

Val.


http://spinningfishwife.blogspot.com/
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2007 :  02:20:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Val,

thanks, I was hoping you'd reply. I agree completely with the Junior's construction principles - I just don't get why all the other carders aren't built along the same lines ;-) May I ask what sort of fibre you are using sucessfully or less successfully with your Junior?

In the article you sent me (thanks again!) the Louets were the best for Angora and Romney and among the worst for dog hair and Merino - and I don't quite get that. I'd have thought a carder would card well either fine or strong fibre - but what do Angora and Romney have in common? I'd have thought Angora was more similar to dog... But then you always have to take tests with a grain of salt anyway, so I'd actually prefer your opinion - after all, you don't want to sell me your carder (I think - I'd be more than happy to get a resonably priced used one LOL)

Have a nice weekend! Klara
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hutchann
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2007 :  06:38:45 AM  Show Profile Send hutchann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by theShizzKnit

Has anyone heard or or tried the Mark V drum carder? I have been thinking of a Patrick Green Beverly and can't decided between the Mark V, Beverly or Deb's Delicate Deluxe.

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hutchann
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2007 :  06:44:30 AM  Show Profile Send hutchann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great discussion as I am trying to decide on a drum carder. I am leaning towards a Patick Green, either the Deb's Delicate Deluxe or The Beverly. But I saw Jim's and someone else's comment about the licker drum collecting shorter fibers. Is this a problem if I am trying to blend fibers of different lengths? (Let's assume that they are only moderately different lengths, not dramatically different.) Another question...Any opinions on Deb's Deluxe versus the Beverly? I think the only difference is the adjustable gear ratio, but I'd love to know if anyone else has more info or experience. Thoughts? Many thanks in advance...
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2007 :  05:56:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,

Fivefibres, where did you get you Kokovoko Picker? Is there a web site?

'Cause I finally took the plunge and bought the Louet Junior carder, and now that the carding goes faster I'd like to speed up teasing, as well... I've only had my carder for two days and played around with it a bit, but so far it seems to do what I want it to do. The batts are easily big enough (about half an ounce in wool - which is what Deb Menz recommends for her - wider - carder). The better the fibre preparation, the easier the carding (no surprise there) - the Merino top that had a little accident in the dye bath (slight felting) carded and blended beautifully. Industrially washed Gotland locks are uncardable, they need a go through the picker (I can't tease them with my fingers eigher). The Angora/Merino blend was okay, but with a lot of build-up on the licker-in drum. Mohair was much nicer to card than by hand - for that alone it was worth buying the carder! What did not work at all was blending wool with ramie - I got nests of ramie on the licker-in drum. I think I'll stick to hand cards for that - they are at least easier to clean.

I'm still puzzled by when there's a build-up on fibres on the licker-in drum and when not: With the merino top the licker-in drum stayed practically empty, with some pure down-type wool as well (that was nice wool without second cuts), but with everything else the licker-in drum filled up faster than the big drum. In any case I've decided that I should card all my supply of one fibre at once to limit cleaning the drums.

And I might add a feed-in tray to see whether that'll make it easier to have an even supply of fibres to the licker-in drum...

Klara

Check out my homepage on spinning (and more) http://www.lahottee.info
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ElaineKnits
New Pal

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  10:40:50 AM  Show Profile Send ElaineKnits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll chime in here. Be prepared for a LONG post! If you want detail, I have detail... I debated and debated all through the past 6-8 months on the merits of various carders, and talked to everyone. I had about convinced myself to buy the Pat Green "Deb's Deluxe" simply on the fact that Deb Menz had a say in the design of it. But that is NOT what I bought! I phoned and spoke with Paula Simmons (who is Mrs. Pat Green, and a well-known spinner I guess), and she did go on about the triple picker, which to me looks like a medieval torturing device, and I didn't want to buy it. But she insisted that it really was necessary to use this device first or ruin your carder. First negative. Then, she told me that I would not be able to use the "fur drum" which comes standard on the "Deb's Deluxe" without buying another drum to handle anything that was not merino, silk, or extra fine fibers. NOT even kid mohair could be done on this drum... it was buy another drum for kid mohair, or all my lamb fleeces from BFL, Cormo, Icelandic, or Shetland... buy another drum, more $$$. I was aghast. All the fleeces I buy are first quality, and very soft, clean. I also use lots of silk, and started playing with bamboo, so I was concerned. The $$ were mounting, and THEN it was, well, basically nothing comes with the drum, it's buy all the accessories, extra. Stopped me dead in my tracks.

Moved on to talk to Dick Duncan in Oregon. Great carders, but big waiting list... and he uses a lower, coarser cloth, but says that it will card it all, including the fine ones, with no issues, and of course, he was the developer of the brush attachment. He recommended, that due to my repetitive stress injuries and fibromyalgia, I should get an electric carder... okay, now we are again well over $1000.

Discussed that carder made in the Netherlands with the owner of company. Was not convinced that what they had was "as good as anything I could get here", and the specs weren't what I wanted for finer fibers. Passed.

Moved on to discuss Louet with several people who sell them, and who also sell other brands. They ALL, without exception, suggested I buy another brand... and interestingly enough, the same brand. (I don't know why they bother selling the Louet at all? maybe because they sell the wheels and the Louet wheel owners want the same brand carder?) I was told that the Louet "meshing of teeth" caused more noils in fine fibers than any other brand... I was told this by several people, that the Louet will cause noils due to the grinding/meshing of those gears, and that we are sold on the idea that what is being caught in those front mesh is the bad stuff, and it is, but that the carder is causing half of it! EEW. Not going there!

To stay away from Ashford as too wimpy. The wholesale overwhelming recommendation from most sellers of more than one brand of carder was the former Fricke/now Strauch carder. So I picked up the phone and called Otto Strauch in Virginia. A "retired" engineer, he didn't want to re-invent the wheel, he looked at what was out there, thought Curt Fricke had the best, most innovative design with the licker-in drum, and bought the carder business from him.(Mr. Fricke, by the way, is less than 5 miles from where my husband teaches school), and is still in business making inexpensive spinning wheels, and fabulous skein winders, ball winders, etc. He only sold the carder part of the business). Mr Strauch was very helpful, answered all my questions and concerns. He explained that the brush attachment that he puts on the Strauch carders is obtained from Dick Duncan, who owns the patent, and that he has made a number of improvements to the carder since purchasing it from Fricke. I asked him about an electric carder, due to my physical issues, and he told me that if I couldn't turn the handle on his carder with two fingers, easily, I was putting too much fiber through. Period. He does not sell an electric model. However, he does offer instructions and information on how to do a conversion for those customers who insist the need it. (that impressed me... it is not available for all the models, but some). He guaranteed I would like it, or he would take it back. He explained that extra or different drums were not necessary, that the licker in, combined with the 128 pin big drum, would handle ALL fibers, even the most coarse, though of course, if that were all I were doing, he'd make it for me with a coarser cloth to begin with. You have a choice as to what cloth you get on your drum. I named him every fiber I use now or anticipated using, and he unequivically said YES, no problem, to every one.

I could not come up with a question or a problem, issue, etc. that he did not have an answer for, though a couple took him a few moments' thought. We talked about belts vs chain drive; about that extra drum stuff (he says that then you have to fool around adjusting the drums to get them back in proper alignment, and how unnecessary it really was to purchase one in the first place), about teasing and other fiber prep before carding, blending, etc. I even called him back about 10 days later and grilled him more on other things I'd thought of in the meantime. I called him at dinner time, and was embarrassed (he's in Virginia, I'm in Washington), but he was quite kind, and proceeded to answer all my questions, thoroughly. We'd pretty much decided that due to the face that I buy more than 3-4 fleeces a year,I like blending a lot, and my physical issues, that the Strauch Finest, was the best choice for me. It WAS more than I initially intended to spend. He said that for someone who does NOT buy and process fleece themselves, or maybe only one or two a year, could just as easily buy the least expensive, Petite, and get the same quality features, but without the chain drive, and the blending ratio would be lower. The Finest is a ratio of 5 to 1, I believe. It's big, it is high enough that it doesn't have to be clamped down or put close to the edge of the table, the handle clears entirely with the carder placed anywhere on your surface. It does come with the clamps, but I've never used them. No need.

I expressed concern with the fact that the Icelandic lamb fleeces have two different forms of true fleece, the tog and the thel, and wondered how well the carder would handle it. He didn't have much experience with it, but he thought I would have no trouble.

The Strauch Finest model comes with EVERYTHING you need, there is nothing else to buy! Picker, doffer brush, cleaning brush for the lickerin drum, and a teasing tool with clamp to attach it to the table next to the carder, all are standard equipment. Lifetime guarantee on labor... if drum cloth needs replacing, ship it back, you pay for the materials, but the labor to bring it back to new again is no charge.

I've had it for several months now. Here's what I think: I made absolutely the right decision. It actually DOES turn with two fingers, effortlessly. A little flicking or teasing and I can feed the fiber directly into the carder, without the torture-chamber expensive swinging picker!

Someone said that the Strauch would not weed out the little second cuts and etc., and that they'd end up in your batt; I have not found that to be so. What few I have had, fell out off the licker-in drum on their way in to the big drum, as well as quite a bit of VM. Yes, you do still have to pick out the burrs...they aren't going to fall out on anyone's carder, but the basic VM and cuts of between 1/4" to 1/3" are mostly going to fall out, or you will see them catch on the tips of the drum and can just stop, take your hand and pick them off, and continue to turn the drum. The brush is wonderful for finer fibers and keeping them out of the air and ON the drum. If too much fiber accumulates on the licker-in, then look to see if your drum is full. You can turn the handle for a revolution while pushing the brush down slightly, and then see if it doesn't start picking up the fiber off the licker-in again. If not, it could be because you are carding exceptionally long fibers and you are holding your hand on them when you are feeding them in, which causes them to wrap completely around the small licker-in, and prevents the bigger drum from taking them off. But if you will carefully pull them off the licker-in, check them for quality, and then allow them to feed through on their own, generally the big drum will take them. Look underneath the carder while you are working and see the amount of junk that starts to accumulate by falling out of the carding area under the licker-in and the big drum. No useable fiber there, but all sorts of "ick".

I'm very pleased. I completely disagree with someone who said that the Strauch doesn't blend as well as the Pat Green Deb's Deluxe. I think blending is as much "operator skill" as the carder. I have some batts I purchased from someone else, who has a Deb's Deluxe, with angora rabbit, wool, and angelina fibers in it. Their batts are not blended well at all, and are completely filthy with VM as well. I am not going to be able to use them until I try to pick them of the worst of the VM, and then run through my carder. There are big chunks of fibers that aren't really blended enough to be caught within the main fiber. If that were the only example I'd ever seen of a PG carder, I'd really think poorly of it. I don't... because I know it is capable of better. But I do think that I got the best out there. If I ever want an electric carder, I can convert my "Finest"... for a pittance compared to the price of an electric carder. If I want a big electric carder, then I will buy one from Judith MacKenzie-McCuin, who does make them in limited amounts, and they are amazing. They are also $1600. I don't want one THAT badly!

I highly recommend Strauch. Oh, by the way. If you order one direct from him, or any dealer, the shipping SHOULD be free, at least on the upper end machines. I don't know about the petite. But I have a friend who does only blending, and the occasional fleece, and she's been very happy with her Petite for 4 years now. I ordered my Finest direct from Mr. Strauch, and it was built for me and delivered free, from the factory, for the purchase price. Which unfortunately, increased to $649.00 US on January 7, 2007. It's still a great deal, IMO.

Hope this helps! Sorry for being long winded, but I wanted to be thorough.

ElaineKnits (and spins, and soon to be weaves!)
Western Washington
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  12:05:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot Elaine, for that thorough report! I'm rather happy that you ended with the price - makes me feel me less bad about buying the Lout, as I wouldn't have wanted to spend that kind of money now! Maybe next year (or the year after) - I figure somebody with 15 spinning wheels (and soon her own sheep) can have 2 drum carders ;-) How big (or rather "heavy") are the batts from the Fricke's Finest?

Actually, I'm still hoping to find a cheap picker - they were quite a common tool in France (of course not in Pat Green quality), but they are all at the other end of the country!

Klara

Check out my homepage on spinning (and more) http://www.lahottee.info
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