Crazy carding is the perfect way for spinners, including novice spinners, to make highly unusual and creative yarns easily. The concept is to put as many different colors, textures, and materials as possible into one batt, then spin it into a simple thick-and-thin single. Very little skill is needed on the spinning end, and creating the batt is a fun and liberating exercise.
Crazy carding integrates absolutely any fiber or material that will fit through the carder’s drums, including silk waste, felted wool, tinsel, sequins, fabric bits, plant fibers, yarn, sparkle, silk noil, cotton, or anything else you could imagine. Be prepared to push your carder’s capabilities to the limit. It is normal for the machine to card very clumpy at first, and it will be hard to crank.
Make a sandwich!
The basic process for crazy carding is to combine several different ingredients at a time and send them through the carder in a thick clump. This will cause the materials to be minimally blended together and will preserve many heavy textures.
Short-fiber materials tend to get caught up in the teeth of the small drum and usually do not make it into the batt. To avoid this, sandwich all the short fibers, or other unusual materials, between layers of longer-stapled fibers such as mohair or processed roving. Visualize making a sandwich: spread a flat layer of mohair or roving out first as the bread, add uncarded locks (lettuce), semifelted wool (tomatoes), sparkle and silk noil (salt and pepper), top with another layer of mohair/roving (bread), and send it through the carder!
Repeat this process adding different fixings in each sandwich. Sandwiches should be about 3" to 4" [7.5 to 10 cm] thick. Card until the large drum is full.
Remove the crazy-carded batt from the carder. Starting from the outside edge, pull off spinnable strips and spin a simple thick-and-thin single; do not overdraft. Allow the lumps, bumps, tangles, and textures to remain.
Tip: Card the batt only once. Overcarded batts tend to lose their interesting textures.