Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Combed top for worsted spinning

 You know all those single locks I've been washing in those tiny packets?   Well, over the past few days I've been combing some of them to prep the fibre for spinning a true woollen.    I've layers them the combs by catching the cut ends on the tines.   It is really important to keep all the cut ends at one end of the combs.  This keeps all the scales aligned for the worsted yarn.

I've seen people layer the locks to as high as a 3rd to 1/2 the height of the tines.  I try to keep it at 1/4 the height or so, just because it gets pretty dry in our house during the winter.  This creates static and the fibres go all fluffy and wild.  Then I need to spritz them with water, or a water/oil or water/ fabric softener mixture to keep the static down so that I can continue combing.   Then I feel the need to let it dry before I spin.  With slightly less locks, I can usually keep everything under control manually and spinning can commence quickly.
 I keep track of where my cut ends are in the combing process.   First pass the cut ends go from behind the tines to in front of the tines.   The second pass  is the reverse and the third is back to the original with the cut ends behind the tines.  This means when I pull the sliver from the combs, I know which end that I should start spinning from.   With a true worsted I want to start spinning from the cut ends.
 Once the sliver is completely pulled off the combs, I roll the sliver up into a little nest.
 I take a little piece of card stock and put a little slit or punch a hole in the middle and pull the cut end of the sliver through the card stock.  This marks the end that I will start spinning with.   Otherwise, it is too easy to forget which end is which when the cat knocks them down.
I started washing single locks, one at a time the other day.   While the little screen packets are great for keeping lock structure and everything perfect, it is a very long process.     This was a little faster, though my drying rack looks rather daunting right now.

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