Support TAS

Author Topic: Carder or combs  (Read 1951 times)

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Carder or combs
« on: December 10, 2016, 01:22:49 pm »
Been reading with interest some of the threads about carding and combs and I'm wondering if anyone could shed some light on my question. I have a jumbo classic carder which I've used for a few years now on my shetland fleece. One of my fleeces, which I stove top dyed recently,  is full and I mean full of neps and what I'd like to know is will they come out with the drum carder or do I need to get some combs? I tend to produce textured multi-dyed artyarn so having a few neps in the yarn isn't really an issue but I have started to make cobweb felted scarves which don't look good when lumpy!  :-\ Any advice appreciated ;)
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 01:31:14 pm »
Some of the neps will come out with the drum carder but not all. I haven't used combs but believe they are really only for fleece with a long staple, I am sure someone else will be along shortly to confirm or deny this.


You might get more neps out with hand careers although I hate hand carding myself.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2016, 03:00:43 pm »
The decision you have to take is 'is it worth continuing to use this fleece for this project?'  You could use the neppy fleece for a bulky yarn, and start again for the fine yarn, with a very carefully chosen fleece, maybe using just the shoulder wool.  So far I have only dyed fleece in a microwave before it's spun.  Otherwise I would wait to dye until after spinning, if there is any doubt about the success of dyeing that particular fleece unspun.
Was this fleece handshorn or roo'd?  If it was machine shorn, then the neps could be the result of new spring growth being included in the shorn fleece.  I hate neps.  I once had 5 beautiful white Shetland fleeces scoured and carded by a small processor and received back a large sack of pretty much unusable neppy fibre  :(


If you decide to persevere using combs or carder, as Bionic says, whether you can use combs depends on if your staple is long enough.  Unless it's under 3" then it should be combable, although you lose a fair part of the total weight with combs.  I don't know if they still sell long-toothed hair combs, but they would be very cheap for a trial.  Metal dog combs would give some idea too, before you decide whether to invest.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2016, 09:43:37 pm »
Thanks Bionic and Fleecewife - I hate hand carding too hence my big drum carder. Such a shame you lost 5 fleeces to neps FW, at least mine don't cost anything - other than time and winter feed. My hubby hand shears all ours and it may have been a particularly wriggly wether that had to have lots of second cuts, difficult to know - and as my preferred method of dyeing is in a massive stock pot where I sprinkle on various colours to get the blending effect I should have been a bit more critical of the fleece before I put it in! I'll be more careful in future.

The length of the staple is approx 6 inch so good for combs then? You mention dog combs as a trial (I have three dogs and lots of combs  :D) which metal comb would be best? We have a rake like comb but it only has a single row of teeth spaced fairly far apart or the one that looks just like a human hair comb just metal. Think I'll try a sample with both types.

I shall probably just spin this fleece and as you say use the finer stuff for the felting.
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2016, 11:10:48 pm »
My fleeces are 'free' too, but the scouring and carding wasn't  :rant: .  When ours are shorn I spread them out butt side up and go over carefully (now - lesson learnt) to check for double cuts etc, before picking over the tip side. If there are double cuts and new growth, you can go over the cut side very carefully with the hand shears to get those bits off.


With your 6" staple, you will probably find the combs much easier than the carder.


When you use combs, you have one clamped (so the rake one) and spread the fleece on that by the butt ends, then comb out the tips with the other comb.  Most of the dregs stay on the fixed comb.  Then you swipe the once combed fleece back onto the fixed comb, and repeat the process.  I was thinking of the dog combs just as a trial to see if it's easy to remove the neps by combing.  I wouldn't do a whole fleece that way - you could see how successful it is, then search online for hand combs to suit you and your budget.  I bought expensive ones being profligate, but less expensive ones are just as good.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 11:14:33 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 11:15:20 am »
Yes I was thinking of dog combs as a trial only as dear hubby has kindly offered to buy me some for xmas. Thank you for your advice Fleecewife  :)
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2016, 11:27:33 am »
I think you'll love them  :thumbsup:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2016, 02:48:44 pm »
Sounds like combs are on the Christmas list! :excited:

I wrote about my experiences with various brands and types of combs on Ravelry.  I'll quote my post here, but if you want to see others' input too, this is the link linky

Quote from: castlemilk
I've found that combs, like wheels, is a very individual thing.  So I'd advise trying before buying, or buying secondhand so that you can sell on if they don't suit you.  Having said which, I think most everyone seems to like the Valkyries; the Extra Fines cope with most fibres except exotic superfine stuff.  However, for me the Valkyries are heavy enough that I'd want to use them clamped, and I like to have combs I can use freehand.

The little Louets cope with most of the fibres I want to process, although very long staple is a bit of a challenge - that's probably my (lack of) technique, though, more than a limitation of the combs.  They are the lightest weight, and hence not the most robust.  Some people find them too fragile and have damaged them - bent tines or even had tines break off / come out.  You do need to not overload them, take care to load them properly (not cram everything hard up against the bottom of the tines), and comb gently, working in from the very very tips.  For me, the light weight and lovely balance is worth the limitations, but not everyone finds that. 

I chose 2-row,and have not regretted that.  On the Louets, the two rows are very close together, so the additional row doesn't cost you much in waste fibre, and buys you reduced number of passes.  My most usual process is lash on, comb lightly once, spin off both combs, repeat.  Very fast. 

Next up in size (that I've tried) is the Majacrafts.  Much more solid than the Louets, a little larger, and you can get a little clamp for them but they're light enough to use freehand too.  I found them not as well-balanced as the Louets for my grip, so that my wrists tired from carrying the weight (which they don't with the Louets - for me the Louets' point of balance is right where I hold them, so they feel weightless), but others do not find this.

Again, there's not a huge gap between the rows of tines, although it's larger than on the Louets, so the second row of tines doesn't cost you a lot of waste fibre.

Next up in size that I've tried, the Valkyries.  Beautifully balanced, for me, but large and heavy enough that I'd want to use them clamped nonetheless.  (My wrists tire, and my right shoulder is a bit of a nuisance.). Quite a bit more distance between the rows of tines; I haven't decided whether to have 1 or 2 row, and haven't yet bought any for that reason.  For the fibres I'd process, the Extra Fines would be the ones I'd choose.  I found the Fines a little too widely spaced, although it was 1-rows I tried and the 2-row might have worked better for my fibre.  I don't tend to process very very fine fleece, so Supefines would be too fine for me.  If you like Polwarth, Merino, Bowmont, angora (bunny) and so on, then you might find Superfines better for you.

Next size up, the Valkyrie Vikings.  Overkill for what I do, but if I had a flock of Romneys, or Wensleydales, I might think about them.  They're bigger and heavier, though, so I might find them tiring to use.

Finally, English Combs.  I had the Peter Teal 4-rows, and they were magnificent.  If I had plenty of strength in wrists and shoulders I'd have kept them, because they make sliver more delicious than any of the others, and are lovely to blend colours on.  However, they are *really* heavy, and there is more than 1/2" from front to back across the tines, so you lose quite a lot of shorter fibres.  Which is good for a long staple fibre like Wensleydale, but I found I was losing maybe half of a Shetland fleece I combed on them.  The sliver was insanely gorgeous, mind, and the yarn I made from rolags pilled a bit... ;p. (I was still underspinning quite a bit at the time, mind.)

I will just add that I comb any fibre on my little Louets, including 1" Castlemilk Moorit, which I find is best spun directly from the comb, much nicer to do and to use than woollen spun.  :thinking: Although now my hand carding technique and longdraw is improving, I maybe should try it again carded and woollen spun...
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2016, 11:16:30 pm »
I bought my combs from Wingham Wool Works. I opted for the smaller one with a stand and single row of tines and the others were a bit heavy for my weak hands. I enjoy using them and am pleased with the results.

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 05:35:46 pm »

Thanks MGM and SallyinNorth that is a fantastic descriptive write up about your combing experiences, many thanks for the link. The decision has been made - hubby ordered single row mini louets from Hedgehog - we had to buy from them as I'm a member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Soc :)) The lady confirmed that the combs would be very suitable for Shetland fleeces although I will be very mindful of your comment about tines bending and breaking.
Its difficult for me to leave the island due to all the livestock and I wasn't able to visit anywhere to handle any combs so I based my decision on weight and other folks comments about the mini louets being lightweight and very easy to use. Now thats all in hand (pun intended) should I get a blending board  :thinking:
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 09:48:01 pm »
You will keep doing that - ordering something and immediately wondering if you need something else. Spinning gets you like that. :spin:


Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2016, 12:52:17 am »
Ah but a blending board is brilliant.  After my wheels, it's the best bit of equipment I have.  You can make your own, but in the end a bought one is way better, and not that much more expensive.  Winghams again.  Of course you need to have fibre to blend - I've been using various colours and some silky stuff like bamboo.  I don't use the whole width of the board as the rolags are huge and difficult to manage, so a bit less than half.  But before you need to use a blending board, you have to have combed a whole stack of fleece to use on it, so you don't need it yet  :o :o :o
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2016, 11:31:24 am »
I use my drum carder for blending. Ashford does a very nice book on blending
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2016, 11:43:30 pm »
I blend on a drum carder as well.

Polyanya

  • Joined Mar 2015
  • Shetland
    • The Creative Croft
    • Facebook
Re: Carder or combs
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2016, 10:51:57 am »
Yes I also do most of my blending on the drum, but there's something about the gorgeous stripey rolags (that I would never spin from, just enjoy) and the convenience of being able to make them in front of the telly as opposed to standing at the big drum. I also think the striping has more definition when made on a board, but I could be wrong on that. MGM since I learned to spin I have acquired 4 spinning wheels, a jumbo drum carder and  soon to have hand combs so I'm sure a little blending board wouldn't be regarded as over the top - would it?  ;)
In the depths of winter, I found there was in me an invincible summer - Camus

www.thecreativecroft.co.uk

 

Hand carder v drum carder

Started by Bionic

Replies: 22
Views: 5942
Last post June 13, 2012, 12:54:13 pm
by SallyintNorth
Ashford Carder or Classic Carder

Started by clydesdaleclopper

Replies: 13
Views: 3217
Last post January 07, 2013, 01:04:20 am
by Dans
Which drum carder ?

Started by Calvadnack

Replies: 1
Views: 1719
Last post August 21, 2010, 11:48:42 am
by Fleecewife
Which drum carder?

Started by Shnoowie

Replies: 30
Views: 16308
Last post December 03, 2012, 09:32:50 am
by Bionic
Drum Carder

Started by Bionic

Replies: 5
Views: 1186
Last post July 14, 2012, 10:31:53 am
by Bionic

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Assist Animal Care Services Thomson & Morgan G.J.W. Titmuss Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Cornwall Turkeys

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS