Our region is replete with items used to process fibre from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Sometimes these come up for sale. A friend emailed me and informed me of a carder that had come available locally. This carder was used to make new wool bats for quilts. The owner said she would rework their quilts every six or seven years on the farm, taking them apart, washing them, and adding new wool.
Carders disentangle cleaned wool. This carder is in great shape, has clamps to anchour it to a table, and even a way to adjust the belt tension. It came with eleven bags of skirted and washed wool which weighs 30#. The entire price was $300CDN.
Weaving begins with spinning, begins with carding, begins with cleaning, begins with shearing, begins with llamas, begins with hay…
Not all llama fibre is the same. In particular when it comes to guard hair, some individuals are guard hair free, while others’ fibre is heavily laden with it. It is thought that the purpose of guard hair is to serve as a wick that draws water away from the insulating value of the animal’s fibre. This is helpful for animals living in the wild, whereas people domestically breeding for fibre will select for individuals without guard hair. Some of my animals have no guard hair (above). Some have a lot of guard hair (below).
I have raised llamas for twenty years. But I select animals based upon their tractability as pack animals.
The greatest advantage of llama fibre for me is that it is available. I have 20 years of it dried and stored. Looking into having it processed these days is ridiculous, cost-wise. I believe that I will buy an electric carder, and try and figure out how to get it spun. But in due time..