Adventures In Wool Combing
I have procrastinated purchasing woolcombs all these years for various reasons. Mostly though, because their cost required me to not make a frivolous purchase. Besides, I had a flicker, wouldn't that accomplish the same thing?
However, after a lot of knuckle busting from the flicker, a lot of deliberation, and the recommendation of my friend Ruth in Kansas, I finally decided to purchase Forsyth Minicombs. They have the advantages of being small, lightweight, portable, and not too deadly looking, as well as being well made.
These are 2-pitch, meaning that they have 2 rows of tines.
“Charging” the comb means loading it with fiber. The biggest disadvantage to minicombs is that one can only deal with small amounts of fiber at a time. But, I figured that since I would probably make quite a few messes anyway, smaller messes would be easier to deal with than larger ones.
The butt end of the locks are loaded onto the comb, lashing on about ½ inch of fiber, about half-way down the tines.
The combing itself requires that the combs be worked perpendicular to one another. Exactly how this is accomplished is by whatever method is the most comfortable and least perilous to the comber. So I did a lot of experimenting, and tried every angle.
I admit that it felt rather awkward no matter which way I held the combs or which dorection I combed. This is a feeling that I know that practice and experience will tend to.
After the fiber is transferred from one comb to the other, the short bits and VM are removed from the first comb and the process is repeated several times.
The other tool which requires some practice is the use of a diz. I'm sure the complimentary one that came with my combs is adequate, but I couldn't help but admire some of the fancy ones in the Woodland Woolworks catalog, nor contemplate the ideas on the Online Guild discussion board for making my own.
A clamp is also available, which I didn't purchase. Without it I had to enlist the help of an spare off-camera hand to secure the comb as I dizzed the fiber.
The result is this lovely open roving, ready to spin, which I will report on soon.
In the meantime, woolcombing tips and suggestions are welcome.
Related posts -
Leicester Longwool 2 - Washing & Sorting
Color Blending on Woolcombs
Polwarth - Experimenting With Blends