Conquering Combing

Are you clueless about combing? Or do you shy away from combs and hackles because of the sharp, menacing-looking tines?

Combing fibers is the best way to achieve a true worsted yarn. The combed fibers should be parallel to one another and spun with no twist in the drafting triangle.

New spinning tools are an excellent investment (who doesn’t love new tools!), but you may already have a few items lying around your home that can get you spinning worsted before the postal carrier can deliver that pair of minicombs by express delivery.

Worsted spinning requires that no twist enter the drafting zone.

Worsted spinning requires that no twist enter the drafting zone.

I have been fortunate to take a couple of classes with the lovely Robin Russo, and there is no better teacher when it comes to learning how to maneuver combing tools to obtain a true worsted prep. Robin’ s tips can help you become familiar with the benefits of combing without the classic wool combs:

Pet combs and brushes make a great substitute for handcombs.

Pet combs and brushes make a great substitute for handcombs.

First, you will need a comb or a brush intended for pets as well as some clean, well penciled fleece, which just means fleece with distinct locks.
Next, firmly grab the cut end of the locks in one hand and, holding the ends tightly, brush the fiber to open the locks.

Then turn it around and brush the other end until all of the noils and tangles are removed.

Brushed fibers with parallel alignment.

Brushed fibers with parallel alignment.

This technique will give your fibers a parallel alignment that is perfect for spinning worsted.

Although this is not a true worsted prep, as all of the short fibers have not necessarily been removed, you can spin this up with a short-forward draw and experience some of the advantages of worsted yarns. Their smooth, drapey, lustrous, and durable characteristics make them well worth all of the meticulous preparation.

Happy spinning!
Elizabeth

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