Combing Wool Locks


First, please excuse my messy desk in the background.  Second, this is the way I do it.  It’s not the only way and possibly not the best way.  But it works for me.

This is a CVM fleece.  It wasn’t coated but is remarkably clean.  I use a hackle and a comb but you could use two combs, if you have a way to secure one down to the table.

  1. Load the locks on the hackle.  I load butt ends onto the hackle.  If the tips are gunky or there is a lot of vm I’ll flick first.
  2.  Fully loaded.  Start with less and work your way up to an amount you are comfortable with.  Mist lightly with water to keep down static.
  3. Start combing.  Keep the comb perpendicular to the hackle.  It doesn’t matter if you go from left to right or vice versa.  You could even switch.  Start near the tips, moving closer to the hackle with each pass.  You won’t get all of the locks into the comb at first.  Pull the comb towards you, making sure that all the fiber that comes away is free from the rest on the hackle and sticking straight out from the comb before making another pass.  I often use my other hand to guide the locks onto the comb and to smooth them out before making another pass.  Be very careful.  Those tines are sharp.
  4. Most of the fiber is on the comb and what’s left is short and matted bits.  Discard this waste (or save it, but I’ll get to that later.)
  5. Now put the fiber back onto the hackle.  Keeping the comb perpendicular to the hackle, bring the fiber down onto the hackle.  Just the ends at first and work your way closer.
  6. You may need to repeat steps 3-5 depending on how it looks.  It should be smooth and without tangles.  Discard the waste from the comb.
  7.  Lift the fibers up off the bottom of the hackle a little.  This allows the fibers to pull off easier.
  8. Start at one side (it doesn’t matter which) and start pulling off the fiber.  Some people use a diz.  I used to , but no longer do.
  9. Work your way back and forth across the hackle until you’ve pulled off all the fiber that you can.
  10. You’ll have a long rope of fiber.  Start wrapping this rope around your hand.  Not too tight but not too loose either.
  11. I often draft the fiber a little here and there to even it out.
  12. When it’s all wrapped around your hand, pull your hand out, leaving you with a little nest of fiber.
  13. This is my waste pile.  I’m actually saving if from this fleece since it’s fairly clean and nice.  I’ll card it and make lumpy bumpy yarn.
  14. Box of nests.

To use, simply unroll the nest.  Start spinning from the outside, the last part that was wrapped around your hand.  For me it drafts easiest from this end.


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