Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How Mary got the VM out of her fleece or The Virtue of Hand Combs!

Well, the first picture shows some newly acquired fleece, California Red. Rather confusing since the wool is beige, huh? Well, the lambs are born red and as they mature, the fleece turns beige. The sheep maintain the red in their legs and their face. Anyway, I got a pound of this really soft fleece. The seller had it bargain priced because it has some VM (Vegatable Matter). I also ordered some hand combs, so I thought I give it a go. See all the little flecks, that's VM.

Handcarders are usually expensive, like a $100 or more. I found these on Etsy from a seller, catskillmtnfibers. They were only $45 and are 2 pitched,(2 rows of tines). I ordered them on Friday and had them by Tuesday. They are really nice and feel good in my hands. I gave them a thorough trial.
The hand combs work really great! In a short time I was able to get all this nice fluffy fiber ready for my Fancy Kitty Kitten drumcarder! Soon it'll be nice soft batts all ready to spin! That will be my next post. Something new is being added. Ron has made a motor base for the Kitten that'll I'll be trying out. I can't wait and will be giving a thorough review!

Here you can see the combs will the fiber on them after combing. It gets out the VM and also the second cuts...the little short peices that come from passing the shears over the sheep after the first cut. It will cause my yarn to pill, so we don't want that! The soft fluffy longer side is the keeper side!
See all the VM that magically falls out as you comb and separate the fibers? So much easier than trying to pick it all out peice by peice! I give the hand combs a 8 out of 10!!! They're well constructed, not too heavy and work very well. I just wished the tines were a tiny bit closer together.


Heidi said...

Very cool. I just read the Yarn Harlot's account of a bad batt that obviously wasn't given the royal treatment you're giving this fleece. I'm learning so much from you, Mary!

And hey, I took the plunge and set up an Etsy shop. Under Vendors, I'm GrantCreekYarn.

Crafty Nurse Mary said...

Hi Heidi!
LOL...Stephanie may have one up on me! The VMish fleece is still a lot of work! I really enjoyed her post about the wool processing and drooled over her finished wool.

I just want the experience of truly taking a raw fleece from start to finish. I love to read about Navajo, Andean and other cultures take a raw fleece from start to finish. I kinda feel if they can do it, so can I! (Besides, the lady with the Jacobs added 2 new ewes, and next year I can have all the fleeces! I really love Jacob!)
I'm off to see your etsy shop! Congrats! Maybe I'll do one of those someday when I quit nursing!

Beverly said...

Thank you for posting this. I have been looking for inexpensive wool combs. It helps to find an impartial opinion.

I am so glad that I found your blog through the Sheep Shed Studios Ravelry group.

Crafty Nurse Mary said...

Boy, isn't that the truth!!! Equipment is certainly not cheap, and I always try to pass on a bargain when I find it!!! I know there are really nice expensive combs out there...but geez...the tightwad in me can go $150 or more for hand carders. I was really pleased with these and they certainly are affordable! I've paid more for a drop spindle!