I am very pleased to report that the more practice I get with my new woolcombs, the less awkward the process of combing feels.
A couple of things which I've learned (because, even though I've read this advice, experience is after all, the best teacher :) :
1. The fiber must be very clean. Even a little leftover grease both gunks up the combs and slows down the process.
2. That 4 transfers (or whatever it's called) works well to remove the noils and short bits, and creates fiber that truly "spins like butter."
I think I've found a new love!
Jesse wondered about trying to blend fibers with the combs. That idea piqued my curiosity too so I wanted to give it a try.
I knew that I had some small amounts of dyed Border Leicester fleece somewhere, so I dug around in my stash and pulled them out. I found two colors of blue, both from Cushings acid dyes. One from the exhaust of a navy dyepot (because who can let an exhausted dyepot go waste), the other Cushings Copenhagen blue (my favorite.)
First I sorted them out by staple length. Otherwise, the longer fibers catch and pull out first, and the shorter fibers will be pulled off last. This obviously isn't helpful for blending.
I chose the 6 inch locks and loaded the comb about 50/50.
The blues blended well with each progressive exchange of fiber.
Below are the results with the two original colors for comparison. Navy exhaust on the left, Copenhagen blue on the right, and the blend in the middle. The results are subtle because of the colors I used, but successful enough to encourage more experimenting.
I didn't waste any time spinning these up. What a joy! Since they are only samples and will probably find their way into some knitting project, I put a low amount of twist in the yarns to keep them soft.
Instructions for color blending with a diz can be found at the Majacraft website. And somewhere I think I've seen instructions for blending with a hackle. However, I'm too lazy to try the diz method. And considering how long it took me to purchase woolcombs, don't look for the addition of a hackle to my fiber equipment any time soon. :)
Posted 4 Oct. 2006 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
Related posts -
Adventures in Woolcombing
Polwarth - Experimenting With Blends