Fiber Preparation
for Spinning

by THL Lucia Thaylur

Terms you should know:

Woolen: fibers are arranged in a criss-cross fashion and may be either carded or combed to produce a very warm and lightweight yarn.

Worsted: fibers are arranged in a parallel fashion (combed) which produces a sleek yarn showing good definition in the finished product.

Combs usually have either one, two or more rows of teeth. My preference is using two row combs. They weigh less than the English combs and help eliminate veggie matter as well as second cuts (both will pass thru single row combs).

Combs are sharp-use care when handling and never leave unattended around children or pets.

Puncture wounds should be cleaned immediately with soap and water. Call your doctor if the wound becomes infected.

Web Minister note:

I have, because of the number of photos, highly optimized them for fast download. If you find some photos need a close up, please let me know. Just Email me the photo number and area you feel should have a close up.

Thanks,
Donegal
DjPSDMvH'C~UxW'CDG<wCS

Fibers
photo
photo 1
photo
photo 2
photo
photo 3
1. Natural brown corriedale, dyed merino, natural white Romney
2. Commercial preparation teal: top (aligned fibers), white roving (crossed fibers)
3. Hand dyed Tussah silk top
photo
photo 4
photo
photo 5
4. Line flax purchased as ready to spin
5. Sheared Angora rabbit
Combs and Cards
photo
photo 6
photo
photo 7
photo
photo 8
photo
photo 9
6. Combs left: Valkyrie Viking combs, right: Louet mini combs
7. Strauch curved back fine wool cards
8. Top: cat brush, bottom: Strauch flick card
9. Dog combs
How to use a dog comb
photo
photo 10
photo
photo 11
photo
photo 12
10. Start combing at tip and work towards hand
11. Reverse lock in hand, comb cut end
12. Prepared lock ready to spin
Hand Preparation of Silk-needs no further combing or carding
photo
photo 13
13. Split silk top lengthwise into small sections
14. Starting at one end or other: grasp silk top with hands placed 6-8 inches apart
15. Move hands until thumbs touch
16. Quickly jerk hands apart-will make a popping sound.
Work your way along the length of the section-popping fiber every 6-8 inches
photo
photo 14
photo
photo 15
photo
photo 16
Using a flick card
photo
photo 17
17. Grasp cut end of fiber and hold firmly, start brushing tip of fiber.
Work your way up the locks to thumb, reverse lock and brush cut end.
Hand Combs
photo
photo 18
photo
photo 19
photo
photo 20
18. Lash cut end of fiber onto comb
19. Fill comb less than half full
20. Hold full comb in left hand-teeth of comb should be facing upward. Grasp empty comb in right hand with teeth facing away from you (will make a right angle to stationary comb). With teeth of comb aimed for tips make first pass thru the fiber. continue making passes until all fiber has transferred to the working comb.
photo
photo 21
photo
photo 22
photo
photo 23
21. Place full comb in stationary hand and get ready to start over. Please note: there is a great deal of controversy whether to continue by reversing the process and combing right to left or by combing from floor to ceiling. In all honesty, I've tried it several different ways and found it makes very little difference in the finished product so suggest doing what feels comfortable to you.
22. Continue combing fiber until fiber is passing freely from one comb to the other with little to no resistance. The small pile of fiber in front of the comb was removed during the combing process. Makes great cat bedding and can also be used for felting utility items.
23. To remove combed fiber place hands near teeth and begin pulling a small section from center. Pull out 3-5" of fiber. Let go of the section you pulled out and grasp fiber near the center of the teeth and pull another section.
photo
photo 24
24. Continue pulling, releasing and starting over until all fiber is removed from comb. the sliver removed from the comb can be spun as worsted. To make woolen yarn
To make woolen yarn
photo
photo 25
photo
photo 26
photo
photo 27
25 thru 27. Gently spread fiber out on flat surface. roll into a loose sausage shape. Sausage may be stretched and rolled several times or can be spun after first roll.
Combing line flax
photo
photo 28
photo
photo 29
28. Begin at tips of stick and work you way thru the bundle.
29. Small section combed out. Haven't found much use for the waste and haven't bothered to try and spin it.
Hand cards
photo
photo 30
photo
photo 31
photo
photo 32
30. Begin by placing fanned lock onto outer edge of card
31. Add several layers
32. Left hand is stationary and right hand does the work. Begin by making short passes thru the tips of the fiber
photo
photo 33
photo
photo 34
photo
photo 35
33 thru 35. When all fiber has been transferred from stationary to working card, begin process over. repeat as necessary. there are several ways fiber can be removed from cards. Easiest I've found is
photo
photo 36
photo
photo 37
photo
photo 38
36. Grasp small section of fiber and pull away from card.
38. Fiber can be spun as is or you can gently spread fiber out
photo
photo 39
photo
photo 40
photo
photo 41
40. Start on long edge and roll loosely into a sausage shape.
41. Loose roll which can be spun as is or
photo
photo 42
photo
photo 43
42. Attenuated (gently stretched out to full length)
To make a simple wrist distaff
43. Gently wrap attenuated fiber loosely around wrist
Assorted spindles
photo
photo 44
photo
photo 45
photo
photo 46
44. Assorted spindles...always fun to collect. The stick and rock usually generates interest!
45. My personal preference is for top whorl spindles but not for spinning flax or silk.
46. Winding on the first length
photo
photo 47
photo
photo 48
47. commercial tow top. Couple of passes with a dog comb and it's ready to spin.
48. bottom spindle: silk spun at 98 wpi, middle spindle: cotton spun at 60 wpi, top spindle, tow flax spun at 66 wpi

Further Reading:

Gibson-Roberts, Pricilla A., High Whorling. Nomad Press. 1998. Cedaredge, Co. 81413. ISBN 09668289 0 9 A very good book for beginners, author covers tools, fiber preparation, spinning techniques, plying and finishing techniques.

Editors: Spin-Off Magazine. A Handspindle Treasury. Interweave Press. 2000. Loveland, Co. ISBN 1-883010-85-3
A fun book filled with easy ways to learn spinning. Features tools (including spindles) which can be made from items readily found around home. Comprehensive coverage of all forms of spindles from top and bottom whorl to supported spindles (Navajo and Takli).

Photography by: THL Donegal



Last updated: 11/23/2006