combing for the first time

This week has seen me using wool combs for the first time and some of the nicest and most consistent yarn I've made so far.
The gauge is not only spot on, but I've been experimenting with colours. The black is the zwartbles fleece that I've been selling. I thought the yarn would be great for the trekking sock pattern in the background, but I've found that wool on its own wears quickly, so the middle grey section is with the addition of some mohair (I heard someone refer to this as 'nature's nylon' this week) and the top section is some brown shetland, again combed and mixed at the same time with some mohair. The decision is to make the socks using mostly the black zwart with the brown shetland mix as contrast colour / heel & toe.

So let's do this story backwards. I'm very proud of the yarn. Combing takes out shorter or tangled fibres leaving you with the best fibres arranged nice and parallel. (Known as worsted preparation.) Fabulous to spin. In my case there's a little grease left in the wool which also helps.
Short draw keeps the fibres straight and even. In this case quite a long short-draw worked well because the fibres are nice and long. With the combed wool drafting like a dream I switched to the faster ratio and have been working very quickly.
This pair of mini-combs has been knocking about here for a long time but drum carding makes such short work of fleece that I've not tried them before now. With lots of fleece around, curiosity got the better of me. Even with these small combs, I found that you can work with quite a few locks at a time.

You work with the empty comb at right angles to the static one and a sweeping motion. This transfers the long fibres onto the second comb leaving the rubbish on the first one which you remove. I've been repeating 4 - 6 times.
It pulls off the comb into a sliver which is ready to spin.

I love combing and am now in the market for a grown-up sized secondhand pair - if you can help, contact me!


josiekitten said...

Thanks for calling in. The knitting exhibition is only running until 30th August, so there's not much time left for your Mum to get there. It's on the site of the Belfry school.

peahen said...

Thanks for the info - I'll pass that on to Mum :)