Friday, April 13, 2012

2 Pitch Comb & Hackle Set Tutorial

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to post another tutorial until May but Eric had to go and create a new tool set and totally screw up my schedule. I think he did it on purpose, he's rascally that way you know ;) So, we'll be combing with the 2 Pitch Comb and Hackle set in this tutorial. For specs on the 2 Pitch set please see the listing in the shop. For the most part, it is exactly like combing with the 4 Pitch Comb and Hackle set so I won't be going over a lot of the Basics or techniques........please refer to the previous tutorials on the Comb and Hackle sets for this information. !

The 2 Pitch sets do not have recessed clamp areas. Your hackle should be clamped to the edge of a good sturdy heavy table as shown. Remember, if you can't hold on to the hackle and pull the table the hackle probably isn't clamped tight enough. Having the hackle come off the table while combing is not fun........don't ask how I know this! !

The 2 Pitch Comb and Hackle set is well suited for shorter fibers (3 1/2" and shorter) BUT will comb longer fibers as well. Due to there being only 2 rows of tines, you may have to make an extra pass or two to remove all of your vegetable matter if is there quite a bit of it. For this tutorial I decided to comb a cormo lamb fleece with a 3" staple and some lovely Pygora fleece with a crazy long staple of 7+ inches when stretched out. !

We load the 2 pitch hackle the same way we do the 4 pitch. I'm treating the pygora much like I would alpaca and loading a little less (volume wise) on the hackle than I would if I were combing wool since it's not "springy and poofy". Fibers that are not "poofy" are easy to overload on the hackle in which case you get more waste than is necessary so it's best to not load as much. Again, we comb from side to side and reload just like we do with the 4 pitch set. !
With the cormo lamb's fleece I pack the hackle about half way when gently pressed down, fluff it up and comb. I forgot to mention in the other Comb and Hackle tutorials that with the finer wools (merino, cormo, rambouillet, etc) you can get nepps.......little pills or balls of wool.......when combing. To minimize this, or eliminate them all together in some cases, do the initial combing off the hackle first. After you have all the wool on your comb lightly mist it with water before loading it back on to your hackle. You will probably have to do this a few times as you are reloading the hackle. You do not want the wool wet just barely damp. Our tools have stainless steel tines and will not rust so it is not necessary to add anything to the water. The static electricity created from the metal of the tines and the action of combing causes the fine wools to "spring back" toward the tines causing nepps. I have no problem with nepps when I keep the fiber lightly misted and it dries quickly after dizzing. !

Dizzing off the 2 Pitch hackle is the same as dizzing off the 4 pitch, start in the bottom right hand corner and work your way across and up. Remember dizzing does take practice and some fibers are easier to diz than other so don't get discouraged! !
With both the Pygora and the Cormo lamb fleece I loaded 1 oz onto the 2 Pitch hackle. The pygora had almost no vegetable matter but did have a few matted places due to me not being able to keep my hands off it when I was washing it, it's lovely stuff! The Cormo had some vegetable matter as the lambs weren't covered. Both fibers were clean and beautiful after 2 passes (combed off the hackle and reloaded=1 pass) and each had exactly .02 oz of waste and .08 oz of spinnable gorgeous fiber.

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