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Doubling is a textile industry term synonymous with combining. It can be used for various processes during spinning. During the carding stage, several sources of roving are doubled together and drawn, to remove variations in thickness. After spinning, yarn is doubled for many reasons. Yarn may be doubled to produce warp for weaving, to make cotton for lace, crochet and knitting. It is used for embroidery threads and sewing threads, for example: sewing thread is usually 6-cable thread. Two threads of spun 60s cotton are twisted together, and three of these double threads are twisted into a cable, of what is now 5s yarn. This is mercerised, gassed (AKA flamed) and wound onto a bobbin.
In a wider sense carding can refer to the four processes of willowing, lapping, carding and drawing. During willowing the fibres are loosened; in lapping the dust is removed to create a flat sheet or lap of fibres. Carding combs the tangled lap into a thick rope or sliver of 1/2 inch in diameter, and removes the shorter fibres creating a stronger yarn.
During the carding process the staples are separated and then assembled into a loose strand (sliver or tow). The carders line up the staples to prepare them for spinning. The carding machine consists mainly of one big roller with smaller ones surrounding it. All of the rollers are covered in small teeth, and as the cotton progresses further on the teeth get finer (i.e. closer together). The cotton leaves the carding machine in the form of a sliver; a large rope of fibres.
In drawing, 4 slivers are combined into one. Repeated drawing increases the quality of the sliver allowing for finer counts to be spun. Each sliver will have thin and thick spots. By combining, or doubling several slivers together a more consistent size can be reached. The slivers are separated into rovings. These rovings (or slubbings) are then what are used in the spinning process.
For machine processing, a roving is about the width of a pencil. The rovings are collected in a drum and proceed to the slubbing frame which adds twist, and winds onto bobbins. Intermediate Frames are used to repeat the slubbing process to produce a finer yarn, and then the roving frames reduces it to a finer thread, gives more twist, makes more regular and even in thickness, and winds onto a smaller tube.
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