Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Santa came early

Since I had so much fun combing the Lopez Island wool, I've been all inspired to do more.  One thing I've had in my mind for a long time is to be able to efficiently comb fine fibers like merino and alpaca.  The Indigo Hound viking combs that I used on the Lopez Island wool are fabulous for medium and coarser wools, but not great for fine fibers because the tines are just too far apart.  They work, but it takes more passes and leaves more waste.

So Santa came early to my house and dropped off a set of Valkyrie extra-fine combs.

Valkrie extra-fine wool combs

I did the inaugural run with some more of the Australian merino that I used for the test skein on my Bee Hummingbird spindle.  I washed up a bunch more locks into puffy delicious puffs of puffiness.

Australian merino (17.4 micron) washed locks

I lashed on 13 grams of locks to one of the combs,

Australian merino (17.4 micron) locks on Vakyrie extra-fine combs

then combed it off with the other,

Australian merino (17.4 micron) on Vakyrie extra-fine combs after one pass

and then combed it back onto the first comb.

Australian merino (17.4 micron) on Vakyrie extra-fine combs after two passes, ready to diz

This wool is so gorgeous.  It's 17.4 micron diameter fiber, which is very fine, and it's so soft and smooth and lustrous.  This is only two passes through the combs, and it's ready to diz off into top.  These combs did an amazing job.

The next step was dizzing.  You pull a little tuft of wool through the hole in the diz, then draft and pull, draft and pull, draft and pull, each time pushing the diz back up toward the comb to pull in the next bit of fiber. The hole in the diz helps keep the diameter of the top consistent. 

Australian merino (17.4 micron) on Vakyrie extra-fine combs, dizzing off the fiber

Here's the finished nest of top- 12 grams of pure fiber bliss and 1 gram of waste fiber, in about five minutes.

Australian merino (17.4 micron) combed on Vakyrie extra-fine combs. 12g of top, 1g of waste.

Ah.  Maze.  Ing.


Anne said...

OK now you are inspiring me to get working on some of the fleeces I have laying around. I have the combs, I have the mini combs, I have the drum carder, I have NO excuses. Your top looks amazing! And you are faster than the wind.....

MaryMary86 said...

Oh that intense longing to reach right in and try that! I'd love to buy my first fleece but I have no idea how to judge quality or the right type of wool. I guess I need to find a good festival to attend.

Thanks for sharing and for showing so many details of the process. I have a new appreciation for the combed top I buy. Do you sell any of your top on line?