One thing we talked a lot about was fiber preparation. I told her that I wasn't crazy about hand carding and spinning from rolags. We looked at flick carders (Anne is about to embark on a flick-a-thon with her new Jacob fleece). Gail offered her drum carder should I ever need to do a lot of carding. But Gail's favorite way to prepare fiber is to comb it, and then spin off the comb. We went over combing at The Mannings, but it seemed like a slow process involving an evil clawlike instrument and a tiny diz - and we did not spin directly off the comb. I liked the combed fiber we prepared at The Mannings, but I didn't seriously consider combing myself at home. Well, Gail changed my mind about that. She likes the Majacraft mini combs with double tines (pictured at left). She whipped them out, combed some alpaca (that hadn't even been washed, yet it was soooo soft), and sat me down in front of the wheel. I was skeptical about how much thread you could spin before needing to stop spinning and start combing again, but again, I was surprised. It's a lot! If I ever buy a fleece, I think I might try this option for fiber prep.
Gail also mentioned Windborne Farm in nearby Fairfield, PA, and gave them her highest recommendation for raising fine fleece for handspinning. The folks at Windborne raise Cormo and Corriedale. It looks like they branched out into the flower business a few years ago - now you can get a flower bouquet subscription. How cool is that? I will definitely need to check out this farm. See the photo of the stone farmhouse in this article (it's the second one down). Impressive.
I tried Gail's Majacraft wheel (Anne, she has the Suzie) and quickly decided it was too much wheel for me. I think I'd already fallen in love with the Schacht Ladybug. I called The Mannings this morning to ask if it was in stock, and it was. Guess who's driving to East Berlin on Saturday? My birthday comes early this year!
I have to take the Traveller and niddy noddy back to Gail by 9/18 - she has another new student starting - so it's just as well we get that Ladybug now.