In previous posts I covered how to scour or wash locks and I also covered how to dye those locks. Now that the wool is dry what’s the next step? Well we are now at the stage where we will prepare the locks for spinning.
There are several ways to accomplish this, often dependent upon the qualities of the fibre. In this case we are dealing with Rambouillet, a fine fibre with about a 3 inch staple length. This will be perfect for the use of a Flick carder.
A Flick carder looks very much like a dog slicker brush, which will also work here. A flicker brush can be purchased online and is really economical. The one I have cost me around 13 dollars Canadian.
Flick carding is often done on one’s thigh or on a table top. Either way you should have a protective surface to work on. I use the thin plastic portion found at the bottom of a reusable grocery bag.
Holding at the cut end give the lock a twist and hold at the twist. Starting at the tip end bounce the Flick carder over the ends coming up at a angle of about 45 degrees. Repeat this motion moving closer to your fingers each time. The fibres will start to spread apart and develop a fan shape. Most of the vegetable matter will be removed as well.
Clean out the waste from the Flick carder
Turn the lock around and tease open the cut end of the lock a bit first then again add a twist. Repeat the same bouncing motion from the end toward your fingers until the fibres are open and clean.
That’s it, a very simple process and it does not take long to develope a rhythm
.I have seen where individuals will use a combing motion in place of the bouncing motion. This too works however my experience is more waste is created this way.
When lock spinning Wensleydale and Cotswold I generally use the Flick carder to open up a couple inches at the cut end. Short fibres are not conducive to this method as hitting your fingers with the tines is not a happy time, Ouch!
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Until next time, happy carding.