New Toys!

I rushed home after my first job today to snap some pics of these!

Sigh.  Aren’t they just beautiful?

These are mini-wool combs that I got from woolcombs.com, a Canadian-based, husband and wife team run by Susan and Andrew Forsyth.  Mini-wool combs can be used to make top to spin.  I saw Judith MacKenzie McCuin do this on a video with some larger wool combs, and I really wanted to try it!! So, one day, I googled wool combs and up popped the link.  It was fortuitous!

Okay, the top two pics were the only ones I had time to take between jobs.  And I wanted to play some with them.  So, I took the set to work with me.  My second job.  And, yes, I attempted to use them.  And it actually worked out.  I had plans to show you the fiber all nice and neat when it was completed.  Instead, I have a tip for you: Do not carry a freshly combed, light and fluffy nest of wool on top of your hand to your parked car on a windy day.  Don’t ask me what I was thinking, lol.

I also got the clamp that goes with the mini-combs so that one of the combs would have the ability to behave like a hackle.  You can use the combs without it.  But it’s a nice addition.  All of it is compact and can travel pretty easily, just like I like it!

Ever since I thought about ordering these combs, I have been watching Susan Forsyth’s videos too so that I would know what to do when they got here.  Well, with spinning, knowing in your head and knowing in your hands are usually two separate knowings.

This is the “lashing on” where the wool is lashed on to the stationary comb.

After you lash on, you begin using the combs to transfer the wool that is on the stationary comb to the comb that is performing the action. Yes, those are locks of wool with tips.  I could’ve and probably should have carded it first….and spritzed it with water.  But I was too giddy to stop what I was doing!

Just above there is after I had made about three or four passes.  It was time to diz it off.

This part is magical to me! The diz that came with this set was the bottom of a milk carton with a hole in it.   It worked.  And out of the tuft of fiber that was left on the stationary comb came this.

It was SO long!! Now, I think I have to work on my technique because although the fiber is supposed to look light and airy, I don’t know if it’s supposed to look that light and airy!

I wrapped it up into a nest for easy spinning.

Can you tell why it should not be on top of your hand on the way to your car on a windy day?  LOL!

I spun some on one of my Enid Ashcroft spindles.

This fiber in itself carried a learning curve for me.  I had to keep my hands farther apart than usual as the staple length was longer than what I was used to working with.  But it turned out fine.

Only have two more of these to go!

Comments

  1. Oohhh joyful!! Wool combs :), I have been dreaming about a wool picker so I can get through all my fleeces … *sigh*

    • Oh goodness!! Don’t give me another toy to want, lol!! But I saw where another blogger had made her own picker…which reminds me, I really need more space!! *collective sigh*

  2. I think it is incredible that you learn new stuff so fast (and are so patient as to try several times…). I am always too impatient, try things that are WAY beyond my level, f*ck things up a couple of times, throw a fit and then leave it … I still have a long way to go. :mrgreen:

    • Well…I could stand to slow down, actually, lol! I just see things and I want to try it. Right now! But, to digest concepts and techniques (and to know why we do things in certain ways), I think it will take a lot more of me doing of things over time. It’s still fun to just jump in though!! And I learn a lot by figuring out what NOT to do first…I think of all the hidden cameras around catching video footage of everyone’s goings on anymore and I’m sure whoever’s on the other end LOVES to watch me. They get bloopers all day long! So, we’re extremely similar on that front. 🙂

  3. It’s been a while since I used combs (still have ’em though) … your fiber looks beautiful!

    • You know, I have seen where folks say they get a drum carder or something and they never go back to hand carders. So, we’ll see…I do like that you have kept your combs. So at least the combs must be a good investment!

      Thanks for that! It looks ultra thin to me though. I’m going to try lashing on some more next time….

  4. Yay! I just got some Valkyrie Mini Combs and am hoping to get started on some Romney this weekend. I think your dizzed wool looks very nice. When we did this in class, it looked about like that. Not nearly as dense as the commercial stuff, eh?

    • Ohhh!! I want to know if you like combing? So nosey!! 😉

      Thanks! Yes, it is not as dense at all. I’m wondering if I didn’t use enough or if the fiber was too long for these combs. When I was combing it out and during the spinning, I noticed the staple length was really pretty long! It took me a second to get started up with the spindle and this wool. But, I figured it out….My hands had to be a little longer than half a ruler’s length apart to be able to draft while the spindle spun. Otherwise, the fiber wool wouldn’t draft and the spindle would get all choked up. But when it was doubled back, it looked so nice!! Very crisp looking 2-ply. But I digress…

      • I only combed a wee bit for the class I took more than a year ago. But I LOVED that bit. It was my favorite prep of all the methods we tried (handcarding, drumcarding, in the grease, flicked locks). I’m ready to try again…and this time with some nicer wool!

  5. That is so cool that you can do that! New toys are so much fun!!!

  6. You’re having so much fun! Highly contagious. 🙂

  7. How cool are these! Thank you so much for introducing us and linking us! I love your demo photos – you make pretty much every creative process seem so breezy and joyful, Stacey. :))

    • Wow! Do I? Well, it’s probably because I do these things on a very, small scale. I’m sure this could get really HUGE if this had to be produced in quantity. Whew!! I think I’d have to enlist my kids!

  8. Wow those combs look so pretty. Looks like you’re having fun

  9. Stacey, I found you from Sosae’s blog and am so glad I did! In all the almost ten years I have been experimenting with spinning fiber I have never combed any fiber or watched anyone else comb it. I have hand carders and make rolags with them, but am fascinated with the long fluffy you have produced with combing! (and can see why walking in the wind with it is ill advised (: My youngest daughter is reading over my shoulder and said she wanted to see a video of someone combing and I told her you have linked to some sites, so thanks from both of us! I look forward to exploring your blog more!

    • Hi Gracie!! Yes, I’ve visited your blog before…I think the last time I visited you were sharing about a spin-in near you and your daughter prepping fiber, I believe. Aren’t those videos great? I like Judith MacKenzie McCuin’s video, A Spinner’s Toolbox too. That’s where I first saw combing and I wanted some top so badly! I love these. But I know, I’m going to have to get a large set too. So hooked!

Trackbacks

  1. […] up, a post from Weekend Knitter Blog about hand combing wool… with most excellent and inspiring photography of the process. This came […]

  2. […] learned how to make a bird’s nests…I’m thinking I started making these when I was learning to make combed top with mini-combs…but I can’t be […]

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