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Saving Money on Fiber Prep Equipment

As some of you may know, I have been learning to spin. A few weeks ago, I enrolled in an eight-class fiber-preparation course along with a couple of my spinning buddies, Linda and Lynda. The teacher raises her own sheep and sells the wool in various stages of readiness for knitting or weaving. Lynda has had the class before, and has accumulated some expertise which is helpful to the two of us who are newbies to spinning. During the last class, we were given a bunch of fiber to take home and spin. Lynda had a couple of hand combs she uses for fiber preparation. She made them herself.
comb3
Here's a photo of the comb. She put nails in the cross piece, made the handle section, used a router to make a space for the cross piece with the nails, and then glued the cross piece in place.
comb2
Here's another view. She showed us how to use the combs (you need two) on the fiber we were given.
comb1
You place some of the fiber on the comb and push it down so the nails stick up. Then you use the other comb to comb through one way and then another, catching just a little bit of the fiber with each pass.
When it's ready, you use a crochet hook to pull some up through a hole about 1/4" in diameter made in an old sunglass lens. Put the crochet hook down, and gently pull the fiber through the hole, which you keep a few inches away from the lens, so not too much comes through at once. This results in pre-drafted fiber, ready to spin. Monday we go back to our teacher with all of our fiber spun on our drop spindles.
In other spinning news, here's my latest homespun made on my Kromski Sonata spinning wheel. There's about 8 oz. of yarn here. I love the color!
Homespun5b
Happy spinning/knitting, everyone! --Peggy

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Tags: fiber, preparation, spinning, yarn

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Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 9, 2009 at 2:44pm
EV: I agree! If they ever find my DH full of puncture wounds, I'll be the first suspect! --Peggy
Comment by EmilyVictoria on March 9, 2009 at 11:26am
Wow I really like that color too! But jeez Peggy that fiber comb looks DANGEROUS!
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 8, 2009 at 8:06pm
Juliana: I don't know what to knit with it. Any suggestions? I have 8 oz of the rust and 4 oz of a natural dark brown. I've had a lot of kind and positive comments on my yarn. Everyone is so nice. I'm hoping it looks less like a novelty yarn all the time. My DH says he can make the combs without routing by using screws to hold down the cross piece that holds the nails. A good idea about the plastic disk. I wonder if an old CD would work. We sometimes have some we have to throw away. The hole is a little bigger, but I use a crochet hook to reach through, and if I use a smaller hook, maybe the bigger hook would work out OK. What do you think? --Peggy
Comment by typhoonyoon on March 7, 2009 at 9:14pm
Looks good Peggy. I really like the colour of your yarn. Have you decided what to knit with it?

Those combs work so well. I mount one on a table top with a clamp and swing with the other one in 90 degrees angle. I use a plastic disk with a hole to draw fiber when I'm done. I'm looking forward to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in spring for fibers and yarn shopping. Yayeeeee! ~Juliana
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 6, 2009 at 12:21pm
Here's what I did using a bottom-whorl drop spindle:
Spindle
It is possible to make yarn on one, but it's slow. The top-whorl spindle goes faster, but is harder to learn on. I have graduated to that. I haven't plied the yarn spun with the spindle yet. That comes next week. The rust-colored yarn was spun on my Kromski Sonata wheel. It's a two ply. I bought the fiber at a fiber and yarn store for $6.50 for 4 oz. There are better yarns to start with, but it was a gift from my DD for Christmas/birthday. Knitty Gritty's website has instructions for making a drop spindle using an old CD, if you're looking for something inexpensive. It takes a dowel, a hook and a grommet that fits in the hole of the CD. If you can find a spinner who likes to get other people hooked, you'll be all set. Happy knitting! (and spinning?) --Peggy
Comment by PurlGirl on March 6, 2009 at 9:54am
WOW! I'm trying not to look, but what goreous yarn. This also proves that you don't have to spend a bundle to get started spinning (well, with a drop spindle anyway.) I know wheels can be expensive, and classes...
Comment by grapesonthevine on March 5, 2009 at 4:13pm
That's really neat! :) Thanks for sharing.

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