Just a quick add-on to my previous post! My new tools have all come since then, and I’m really quite excited about them 🙂
First off, my first pair of wool combs arrived! Since I wasn’t sure how well I’d do with them, I went with a smaller pair to start; they’re still quite heavy, but not more than I can handle easily enough. I’m still getting used to them, so no pictures of lovely combed tops yet 😉 Right now I’m mostly using them to smooth out some Cormo and help me shake the VM out… for this purpose they’re doing a better job than my handcards.
Which brings me to my second point. I didn’t post a picture of them last time, but here’s my first pair of cards:
I bought them when I first decided I wanted to try and process my own fleeces, right around the time I bought Kramer’s fleece. Pretty sure that’s the first thing I carded, too… Anyways, they were my first pair. I bought them used at a pretty good price at the recommendation of a swap partner. By this point they have seen much use; the handles are wobbly, the carding cloth is ripping off the card… With some work they will be fully usable again, but they also aren’t quite what I want for daily use anymore, as they are on the small side, and I find it difficult to make pretty rollags.
After putting that pair’s repairs on the back burner, I decided to invest in a second, larger pair. I fiddled around on Ebay for a couple of weeks, bidding, watching, searching… I lost a lot of auctions, and learned a bit (for instance…apparently there are only a small number of current manufacturers of cards. Howard was the cheapest to buy new. Occasionally used Clemes and Clemes came up, but they always went off high. New Ashfords and Strauch were high as well. Vintage were generally in extremely rough shape and would need a full overhaul– sanding, buffing, new carding cloth, stabilize the handle, etc.) Eventually I got pretty discouraged and dropped my standards… and then this pair came along:
They didn’t have any bids, but the listing was low on information, and the seller was not a spinner. Still, they were affordable, and I figured I’d give them a try. Do I regret this? Maybe a tiny bit… you see, some of the tines, from the moment I opened the package, are somewhat loose. The carding cloth is not affixed smoothly to the cards. The TPI is low. BUT… they work very well for carding medium to rough wools, so for my breed study fleece samples, they work quite well. They are bigger than my first pair, thus allowing me to create proper rollags that, while not pretty, don’t fall apart. And they are sturdy enough for the time being.
After I had gotten over my initial disappointment and resigned myself to having this particular pair of cards, I received a Ravelry message from someone from a swap group I frequent– she was destashing a pair of Ashford hand cards; would I be interested? She sent me a photo, and her price (a jaw-dropping price, at that! Half of what I was seeing on Ebay, and with shipping included!). They were in great shape, and I agreed immediately. They arrived today 🙂
See, this is the pair I have always wanted. Large enough for proper rollags. A little bit of a curve to them (it’s hard to explain why, exactly, but I find that curve makes it easier for me). A very fine TPI so I can card fiber like Merino, and Alpaca, and Silk, and the fine breed studies I haven’t done yet (like Bowmont! I have that, washed and absolutely luscious, but it still needs a good carding!) These may not be in perfect cosmetic condition, but they are in perfect working order, and that’s all I was looking for 😀
So how was your day today?