It is a crap day outside. Certainly for the end of April; cold, wet, snowy, but not enough snow to call anything off or have some fun outside. Time to finish up as much of the basket of Churro as I can today.
These giant pick/rake looking things are called 2-row “Viking” combs. They are used for combing locks of fleece so they are parallel, smooth and ready to be spun into a worsted yarn. Combs can also be giant torture devices that can be clamped on a table (usually called 5-row English combs). I prefer combing a long wool or a double-coated fleece like Churro to carding; I’ve been carding as much of the leftovers from combing as I can and using it for other things. Usually any trash like grass, sticks, or shorter fibers are either combed out or left behind when the fiber is pulled off the comb. Not all the time, but usually.
The rhythm is different than carding. In carding, it’s load, brush-brush-brush, roll to the edge and carefully lift off, and repeat. In combing, well, it’s been load, comb-comb-comb, thread through a
button diz, and pull. Just hard enough to get the fluff to move the hell off the comb, but not so hard that it rips the newly made top in half. Then you roll it around your hand into something a bit more manageable than a big hunk of top, place next to wheel, and repeat. I should say that somebody who has more experience with combs can do it much more gracefully and quickly than I can, so as always, somebody else’s mileage may vary.
The combed top spins up fairly quickly. Far more quickly than the combing process, which takes roughly twice as long as spinning. When it’s spun, though, it looks like this:
Eventually it’s going to be rug yarn, which I’ve written about before. Some of this fleece has already been chain-plied, and I’m trying to decide if I want to do that with all of the yarn or make some of it 2-ply instead of 3. Which will be a good way to spend this evening. Much more enjoyable than looking sadly at the rapidly falling snow outside.