English combs and worsted preparation

I recently managed to buy a set of what I believe are Martin Hills combs. A couple of weekends away have meant that it took a while before I was able to watch this series of four videos and then set about some washed fleece (risking life and limb in the process, those tines really are huge and sharp)
You'd expect these mahoosive combs would eat through fleece in no time, but it took much longer than expected. In her videos, Amanda makes half a dozen passes of the combs, pulling out a rough roving half way through. I'd spun some of the same fleece previously using mini-combs which were even slower work and I don't think I took anything like as much trouble.

But when you spin, you discover that the time spent has been an investment. My roving, pulled through a diz, was already fairly thin. The combs leave you with the best and longest fibres and they're very well aligned. I had to do very little work, it actually felt like cheating! With the high-speed kit on and treadling furiously I got through half a dozen of my painstakingly-prepared nests in the time it took to listen to Duke by Genesis.
The result is very fine and even. So fine I may make a 3-ply. This zwartbles wool is very bouncy and when plied it springs out into a very squishy yarn. I can't wait to have it finished, but it's going to take more patient hours with the combs.


Ellen said...

I love my combs and find it a very satisfying task to be able to diz off my own soft nests. I do find I need to spritz the lfleece as I layer it on though to cut down on the static. A little olive oil and water in a spray bottle works for me. I do have to isolate the dog and cats though when I am swinging those lethal combs ;-)

peahen said...

Thanks Ellen. That's a good tip about spritzing. I'm so clumsy, I'm amazed I've not caused myself an injury yet.

Kerryhill said...

I used them once and caught my finger on the end - ouch! The resultant top is lovely though.