Look what I've got!
These are mini carders, hence the relatively cheap price of £12.95 + £2.75 delivery. I'm not sure exactly what pitch the pins are, but they're described as,
The last time I attempted carding I was about six and visiting a friend's grandmother. I can't remember much about it. Luckily I don't have to as the internet is full of helpful advice. I found a blog post with nice clear pictures and, specifically for cotton, a video that gave me a good feel for the technique.
My first few attempts didn't go terribly well. I didn't know whether this was because I had the wrong tools, or it's not possible to work this fibre or, more likely, because I lacked the skill. I persevered and it got a bit better. After a while I got the hang of spreading the fibre out over the surface of the pins without pushing it too far down between them. With a bit more work I managed the next stages of the process, too. Here's how it went after a few goes:
First, put some fluff on one of the carders, pressing lightly so it stays put.
See the links above for how to do the actual carding. It ended up looking like this:
I then used this fine metal comb...
... and my fingers...
... to roll the fluff up loosely.
I rolled this over the surface of the pins, which made the roll much more compact. I guess this is the same process as needle felting.
I now have six little rollags, or punis, as they seem to be called if they're cotton.
the next step, of course, is to try spinning them. I've never spun rollags before and I can see myself pulling several of these apart before I get them hang of it. Maybe I need to make a few more before I move on to spinning.