Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 days?!?

How in the world did it get to be that close so quickly? Thankfully, I am very nearly finished with the pre-Christmas gifts (just one more to go). That one needs to be finished before the 22nd, when I will be in close proximity to its recipient, but I also have an 8-hour car drive that I'm hoping will be enough time to power through the end of the project. I admit, I am not knitting as fast as I could be. My new toy is a bit distracting.

Combs in Safety Mode

These are NOT helping me finish my gift knitting on time. But they do produce my favorite form of fiber: hand-combed top. Unlike hand cards, which give you light, fluffy packages of wool with the individual fibers going in random directions, combs give you light, fluffy packages of wool with the individual fibers all aligned in one direction. They also get out all the little short fibers and neps that would give you lumpily-spun yarn and pill in your knitted object. Cards give you fiber that's awesomely prepared for woolen spinning, while combs give you fiber that's awesomely prepared for worsted spinning


I won't be giving up my handcards any time soon, but the combs are easily my favorite. My default spinning method is worsted or semi-worsted, so a combed prep is ideal.


Here you can see one comb loaded with washed polwarth locks, while I pull combed locks off the other comb. That process looks kinda like this:


The tool between me and the comb is a diz, which is basically a curved piece of wood with holes in it. There are three different size holes, so you can have different thicknesses of top. You pull the fiber through the hole to get the fiber in top form, which is wound into little nests. I spent two lovely afternoons combing this week, one doing the polwarth locks from Verb and the other using the dark grey locks left over from my first fleece. I now have a brown paper grocery bag filled with happy little clouds of white, silver, dark grey, and chocolate brown. They're calling to me, waiting for me to finish the gift knitting.

On top of all this I'm also getting ready for another big announcement, hopefully before the holiday but definitely not until after final exams are over. Stay tuned!

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