Monday, December 10, 2007

More combing, this time the rest of the fawn suri alpaca from Caroline. I'm such a bad blogger- I completely forgot to take pictures until the very end of the last comb-full. I don't even have any pictures of the beautiful curly locks. Phooey.

This fiber was very long (8"), very curly, very slippery, and very staticky. Woolcombing X-treme, if you will. I had enough fiber to load the combs four times in all, and by the third batch I had worked out a method that went pretty well. I did initially try just flicking and spinning from the lock, but that wasn't at all successful. The fibers are so long that the locks pulled into a snarly, tangled mess. Perhaps with more practice I could have made it work, but I didn't want to waste the fiber. Combing worked beautifully.

The individual locks were so slippery and narrow that they were hard to lash on, and didn't stay on the combs well, so I flicked bunches of locks first with my dog comb to open up the cut ends and the curls, then put them on the combs and did three passes, misting very sparingly with water as needed to keep the static under control. I did have a bit of a problem with the fibers wanting to wrap too far around the tines if I took too big a "bite" with the mobile comb, leading to difficulty during dizzing (grasping both ends of the same fiber). Eight inch staples are about the upper limit of what I would want to comb.

It reminds me of maple sugar cotton candy.

There was quite a bit of variation in fiber length within each lock, so the combing waste was more than I would have liked (also due to that fiber-wrapping problem I mentioned above). From 106 g of uncombed fiber, I got 68 g of top. I saved all the "short" fibers though, and I think I'll either card them on their own to make a fluffier yarn, since the shorter fibers had more texture than the long silky fibers that the diz drew off, or I may even try to comb it again since most of the waste still has a pretty good fiber length.

What I did get with the diz is lovely. I think it will make a nice laceweight yarn, very much like silk. Shiny, soft, drapey, and no elasticity.

If I spin it fine, 68 g should be enough for a lacy something-or-other.


Caroline M said...

I was trying to get something like Cherry Tree Hill Suri Lace Alpaca out of it and I did manage it for an inch or two here and there. It was the whole static cloud, wraps itself around your fingers thing that I couldn't get a handle on. Even working a lock at a time was hard work.

At least now I know what it should look like when it's done right.

cyndy said...

oh that is lovely! And with an 8" staple, well, I would love spinning that! Thanks for posting about your combs (re what is working and what isn't....)

jackie said...

So beautiful! And I have an idea that may work for the static. When we are weaving with silk and are having a static problem, we just rub a dryer sheet on the yarn. I'm not sure how it would work with fleece, but worth a try.