Saturday, September 02, 2006

Combing Variation

I've come up with a combing variation that seems to attract curious onlookers and a number of questions. It begins innocently enough, with a comb full of fiber (in this case llama that was generously given to me).

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I prefer to use my mini combs while seated, rather than standing beside a table with one of the combs anchored to it. This works really well until you get to the part where the wool is to be dizzed (drawn into a roving/sliver in preparation for spinning). In theory you can then place the handle of the full comb between your knees to anchor it while you diz off the roving. In theory! I quickly discovered that not only is it ineffective, it puts the Thigh Master to shame.

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. It didn't take many sessions struggling to hold the comb still between my knees for me to come up with this idea. I invented a simple anchor for wool combs that can be used while seated.

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With an eye hook added to the handle of the comb (already provided in Ray's Wool Combs, or easily added to other makes), it is a simple matter to center a cup hook on a sturdy dowel. When ready to diz the cup hook goes through the eye hook of the comb.

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The dowel goes behind the knees with the comb between the knees, tines facing away from you.

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From this position, with the anchored rod to pull against, dizzing while seated is a breeze!

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FYI, this one-of-a-kind diz was made by my daughter from Fimo clay. She made several for me with different size holes so I can use whichever suits the fiber I am working with.

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After I have the whole combful dizzed I like to wrap the long roving into "nests". I begin by making a loose wrap around two or three fingers.

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I continue wrapping around and around until I come to the end, which I tuck between my first two fingers.

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As I pull my hand out of the wraps I draw this outside end into the middle forming a nest where both ends stay secure until I am ready to spin.

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I like to comb up the entire batch saving the nests in a basket. This way, if I have color variations within the fleece, I can arrange them in a pleasing manner before beginning to spin.

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When it's time to spin it is a simple matter to find the little end of each nest, pull it out and start spinning.

P.S. None of these pictures were taken with me wearing only a slip! It was a hot sunny day and I was wearing shorts. My spinning/combing apron (which captures the dirt, twigs and crud that falls out of the fleece during combing) is made from a long slip that has been sliced down the back. I added a wide ribbon at the waistband to use as apron ties, hemmed the back edges, and whaalaa! a spinning apron that the fiber doesn't stick to. Yes, another invention conceived by necessity.

8 comments:

Dianna said...

The photo of you demostrating the comb holder with the fiber in situ out of context is a riot!

Paula said...

How very clever - both the comb holder and the apron! I don't spin. Yet. But I will soon as I have joined the Spinning Roving Swap as a *blush* Virgin Spindler.

I really enjoy reading all your spinning-related posts. Thank you. Oh, and your alpaca fibre nests are very cute and such a lovely colour.

Rabbitch said...

I think I have a lot to learn from you, lady!

aija said...

Very interesting! I am no where near proficient enough to think about combing, but I'll definitely keep your tip in mind :)

Maggie Ann said...

This is interesting...you are a good teacher!!

June said...

Great idea!

I looked at the slip pictures and thought, Wow, spinning *is* sexy! Woo woo! :D

Congratulations on the baby-to-be, also!!!

Maggie Ann said...

Thanks for the link..its really interesting and informative...and inventive!

Windyridge said...

Great idea! Thanks for sharing it. You should see the contraption my husband came up with for dizzing from a table.