sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

comparing wool combs day 4

day 4 of tour de fleece 2009
650 grams combed total
544 grams sliver (106 grams waste not pictured)

As usual, coke can for scale :)

The foam boxes my slivers usually hang out in were overfull twice over, so I'm storing the little nests in the cleaner's supply bags as they wait to be spun. Their tops are folded over to give you an idea of the color and variation in the fleece outside the plastic but are pretty much full to the top. I stored the original washed locks in one of these bags and it wasn't even halfway full, lots of air in the little bits! :)

I used my handheld 2 pitch combs all day yesterday like on day 3, hitting 13% waste yet again. Looking at my numbers above it seems I've averaged ~16% in waste fibers over combing the entire fleece, not bad at all. I went ahead and used one bag for the slivers I dizzed from the English combs and one for the slivers from the Vikings; I'll definitely be looking for differences in spinning them but mainly it's to try and break up any possible color banding/striping as I spin. If I can alternate or spin odd lengths I'm hoping to break any repeating color effect the finished yarn may have-- I'm also going to be spinning a 3-ply which will help as well.

I can't see any differences in the sliver from the different sets of combs by eye. There is definitely a weight difference-- I randomly pulled 6 nests from each bag and weighed them, 22 grams for the 2-pitch and 34 for the 4-pitch. It doesn't sound like a lot until you start thinking about that difference over a whole fleece's worth of fiber (and that you'll expend similar amounts of energy for each combful, assuming each took the same number of passes before a spinnable sliver was formed.) Also keep in mind that the sliver from 2-pitch combs is not going to give you a "true worsted" spinning experience if it's important to you (all lengths in your sliver will not be the same as they will with higher pitch combs), but for me that's not a big deal since I default to Paula Simmons' draft against twist/spinning for softness and speed spinning anyways.

I still don't have a preference for either/or, I think they both will have a happy place in my tool stash for a long time coming. I wanted to share comparison pics of the difference in size/tine spacing and circumference, just because I like these forest-thru-the-trees images :) I also am including comparison pics of the Valkyrie Standard combs, also no longer in production.

craftsmith 4-pitch "fine" English combs

valkyrie 2-pitch "standard" Viking combs

valkyrie 2-pitch "fine/mini" Viking combs

Note that the Valkyrie standard set has the largest diameter tines of all 3-- where the Craftsmith and Valkyrie minis are much closer in terms of tine size. There's also the issue of how those tines are spaced, not only next to one another in the row but how far the subsequent rows are spaced as well.

valkyrie standard (left) and mini

craftsmith 4-pitch fine (left) and valkyrie standard

craftsmith 4-pitch fine (left) and valkyrie mini

The rule of thumb is going to be the finer the tines and the more they're spaced together, the more appropriate they are for finer fleeces. (Think of the more teeth per sq inch in carding cloth/finer fibers rule, same idea.) The larger, wider set tines of the Valkyrie standard set (or other "standard" Viking sets) will be optimal for coarser fleeces... or other applications like blending, pre-combing, etc. I'll definitely be trying the standard set on some (more!) new fleeces... but that's enough for tonite :) I need to get spinning!

Miss you.


Jody said...

I have some beautiful hand made 4 pitch english combs and two pitch minis also handmade....the tines on my minis are flexible and not sharp. Are those V combs like the Viking combs because I was thinking of getting a set of 2 pitch Vikings. I like the look of them.

Jenifer said...

I love hearing/seeing the details of what you are working on. Very impressive!

madonnaearth said...

Augh, you're killing me! I am trying to be a good girl 'til Christmas, seeing as I have enough yarn and fiber to keep me going to the year 2020! How could you not want fiber that looks that good? lol

Beautiful pictures!

sillyewe said...

Thanks for sharing your comparisons. I have been trying to determine which combs to purchase and this has really helped immensely.

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