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I guess I should start with the tools of my craft. These are some of the most primitive tools, Viking wool combs.They work best for long haired fleece and rough wool fleece. One of the combs is clamped onto an edge, a handful of fiber is thrown onto the tines and they are "combed out" with the other comb. After a few passes, all the fibers are aligned on one comb, while the "second cuts ( smaller pieces ) have fallen out and so has the dirt,chaff, sheep poop and insects. Left over is the sliver which can then be spun into very smooth, very fine , worsted yarn.
I did not use combs for the longest time when my children were still living at home. The pointy tines will draw blood. Also not recommended if you have anger issues.

Spinliesel 9 Feb 14
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I think I have a set of those somewhere. they are mean!

btroje Level 9 Feb 15, 2018

Woulsd you like to sell them?

@Spinliesel they are packed away somewhere that would take a long time to find

3

When I was 12 or so, my Girl Scout troop had a day of learning about wool art. I got to try everything. It was fun. One of my great great grandmothers was a cotton yarn/thread maker in Scotland.

Annaleda Level 8 Feb 14, 2018

"That is fascinating. Do you have pictures? Everything you learn about working with wool is not true with cotton, linen, nettle and hemp. You get to beat the heck out of those fibers before they break and become easy enough to work with.

No, I wish. @Spinliesel

3

no washing? those combs make chisels and gouges look safe.

hankster Level 9 Feb 14, 2018

Often i do not wash until I have spun the wool into yarn. The natural lanolin in the wool makes it easier to spin. Yep, we spinners don't fool around.

interesting. thank you. spinners must be a rowdy bunch.

I was going to ask about boiling.
The wool I have is dirty, and didn’t know where to start, so I’ve put it off. 🙂. Can only learn so many things at a time. @Spinliesel

@hankster smelly fingered with soft skin perhaps?

@Annaleda Please don't boil it. It will be a tangled mess of fibers, not even felt, which is a controlled tangle of fibers. You will need very hot water, detergent for wool, a very large pot or the tub of your washing machine.
Shake out the fiber to dislodge small life forms and chaff. After filling the tub with very hot water, add the detergent ( I use Joy dish washing liquid) and lower the fiber into the water. DO NOT turn on the washer. The individual scales on the fiber open up in warm and hot water, so any movement can tangle ( felt) the fibers.
Swirl it around a bit with your hands. Let it cool. STILL NOT TURNING ON THE WASHER. Lift fiber out . Drain washer tub.
Repeat if necessary.
Rise gently with warm water.
Several times.
Now comes the amazing thing: Once the wool is washed and rinsed, you can put it back into the washer and SPIN it dry. Spinning cool, clean wool does not felt the fibers.
Or you can do what I do, everything by hand. Takes longer, is heavier work but gives you total control over the process.
Caveat: Washing high-grease wool (Merino,etc.) in the washing machine will eventually clog up your drainage system.
You can dye wool before or after washing.

@FrayedBear not nearly often enough.

@hankster Show me a shearer- 'broken' backs yes, boils on the thighs and groin yes, chapped leathery skin - very rare - usually like a baby's cheek.

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