I've purchased locally carded fibre a few times recently and I'm sad to say that I've been really disappointed with it. I recently bought 2kg of half bred carded fibre - when I opened up the bags it was full of neps and noils, short cuts and dirty tips that were thoroughly mixed in, I had paid $60 for it so it wasn't cheap. I tried spinning it but it was taking forever and was far from enjoyable due to stopping every few inches to pick out all the crap. My hubby's favorite yorkshire saying is "you can't polish a turd" That was ringing in my ears the whole time I was trying to spin the blasted stuff.
So I decided to get myself a pair of these beauties:
I am totally chuffed with them. I chose the Valkyrie extra fine combs after much deliberation. I nearly bought the Majacraft combing set but was worried they would be too small for my needs. These combs are lightweight but can handle a fair amount of fibre. There's a comparison table here which I found so very helpful and it helped me to make up my mind which ones to go for. This lady has obviously put a lot of time and effort into testing wool combs and I found her research very informative.
My next purchase will be the hackle to go with my combs so that I can blend fibre from my alpacas with wool and silk to make my own custom blends.
Of course I have been experimenting. I washed, combed and spun a small amount of raw alpaca to see how the combs perform and I was very happy with the result:
550 mtrs of very heavy lace weight 100% alpaca.
My spinning guild will be holding an exhibition at the local art gallery throughout the last week of October. Members who would like to participate were given a bag of locally carded fine corriedale fibre. This fibre is also full of crap and I had been considering not using it. Today I decided to comb that bag of fibre. The result is beautiful ~ soft, white, perfectly combed little nests of fluff, however, there is an awful lot of waste, as in there is more waste than actual combed fibre:
The fibre as I received it. It doesn't look that bad coiled up but believe me it is full of noils and vegetable matter along with dirty tips.
After 2 passes through the combs.
This is the waste from one batch of fibre.
Here's the beautifully prepped finished nests ready for spinning. See, you can polish a turd!
Now comes the hard bit - to decide what to make, but first to spin the fibre and see what meterage I can get. I'm going to aim for a heavy lace weight to fingering weight yarn and hoping to possibly get 100g of good usable fibre out of the 300g that I have.
There has been crafting of another kind going on here recently, I made a new Roman blind for my bathroom: