Mini Combs and Lincoln Longwool:
Since I fell so totally in love with my regular combs, I decided I need a pair of mini combs also. This type of processing is addicting, much more so than washing fleece or drum carding. I bought a pair of Forsyth 2 pitch minis. They are lovely wood, a very comfortable size and weight, and I am very impressed with them.
My first attempt to use them, was unfortunately on the wrong type of wool. I have a border leischester fleece that was washed, and is now a mass of dreadlocks. I have been trying to find the proper tool to process this fleece, more for the challenge of it, really than to save the fleece. It is a learning experience that I just haven't given up on yet. The dreadlocks are too small for the large combs, and too tightly coiled for the drum carder. I think the best would be to use a flicker on them, then drum card. Even trying to open the locks with a dog comb, or hand cards, is unsuccessful. Well, on second thought, that best would be to have a picker, which has been on my wish list for a couple of months now.
And alas, the mini combs could not handle the dreadlocked fleece either. However, I do not hold that against the combs at all. I know this just to be a real problem fleece.
So to soothe my frustration, I combed a little of the corriedale that I had washed, and produced a lovely top. I found out that the combs were comfortable and easy to use, given a cooperative fleece.
Last night I spent about two hours, using the mini combs and combing a Lincoln longwool fleece. I do not think this fleece has been washed, but it has no lanolin to it. There was alot of dusty bits combing out, so I had to work with a newspaper on my lap. Those combs were the perfect tool for that wool though, lovely floating puffs of grey wool Actually they look like little piles of steel wool. And my lap felt like I had been combing steel wool, there was a definate itchiness to my clothes, when I stood up to brush off the sticky bits.
Lincoln longwool is not a favorite fleece of mine. I have hands that are use to working with the luxury of angora and alpaca most of the time. However, our state fair spinning entry category requires one skein of natural colored lincoln longwool. Last year, for my entry I drum carded lincoln, and thought the resulting yarn about average. I want to see if using combed fiber, for this years entry, will be smoother. And that is the goal for the yarn, a smooth, shiny fiber for rug weft. I think the yarn from any natural colored Lincoln longwool, is beautiful and shiny, as long as it is far away from the skin.