Combing Fiber with St. Blaise Carding Combs

St. Blaise combs and hand processed/dyed sheep fleece

St. Blaise combs and hand processed/dyed sheep fleece

I’ve been combing fiber like mad while we’ve been here in Nova Scotia. After watching Robin Russo’s DVD Combing Fiber I was convinced to give it a try, and purchased her St. Blaise combs the next time we were in Vermont.

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Of the interesting tidbits I found out in this DVD, like St. Blaise was the patron saint of wool carders (who knew there was a patron saint of wool carders!!), I also gained a greater understanding of the difference between woolen & worsted yarn. It goes beyond how the wool is spun which I naively thought, and also about how the fiber is processed. In a worsted yarn, all the fibers are aligned in the same direction prior to spinning. Half of the fiber is discarded as waste product leaving only the smoothest best quality fibers (aka: top). This is what gives that smooth even texture many knitters and crocheters enjoy.

Robin reviews the different types of combs and their pitches and what fleece is combed with each. In the end I was convinced her own designed St. Blaise combs that are made in her studio in Vermont would be the best option for me as a well-rounded go to comb.

I definitely was not disappointed, and thanks to her instruction via the DVD, I was combing fleece like a pro in no time. Although I own a drum carder I wanted the combs for working with a fleece requiring a little extra TLC. The combs do a stellar job at removing VM (vegetable matter) and are a must-have for separating the longer/coarser strands found in fibers like icelandic sheep or llama. The other plus is that they are portable, so now I can continue processing fleece while we are in Nova Scotia and leave the drum carder behind in the studio.

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 Leilani Cleveland Deveau is a self-taught jewelry artist with over sixteen years of experience. 4 years ago she added the fiber arts (wool processing/dyeing/carding/spinning, knitting, crochet and felting) to her long list of creative interests. Leilani welcomes questions or comments from other crafters and handmade artists, as well as requests for custom, wholesale or consignment jewelry. Her home studio is located in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. You can contact her by email: leilani@bb3.com or stay informed by subscribing to her monthly newsletter (a draw for a giveaway each month!). See sign up button at right on main blog page.

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