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madcat

Preparing fleece in the Iron Age and Viking times

Following on from Mistress Rose saying she learned to spin in the Iron Age I was wondering how fleeces were washed and prepared.

Were combs used then or was it the Vikings who started combing fleece. I see Viking combs advertised so assume they did comb fleece.
Has anybody used the replica Viking combs and are they a useful fibre prep tool for a modern spinner.

There's a firm whose name escapes me just now who make and sell Viking kit and they sell combs.
Ty Gwyn

Did`nt realize the Iron Age lasted that long down in Hampshire,lol.
Mistress Rose

No, but I am a very well preserved 2000 years old John. Laughing

The method I was taught was to tease the fleece out by hand. You prepare each handful as you use it. It is teased until it is 'like a cloud'. You then hold that over the back of your had while spinning. As far as I know there were no combs used for fleece then. The only combs I am aware of are called 'weaving combs' and they are rather like an afro comb.

If you look in Gervase Markhams books of the late 16th century, it tells housewives to tease out fleeces in preparation for dyeing. No mention of carding, although there were cards from at least Norman times if not earlier. By the 16th century, combing had become a trade and was carried out by men. Only carding was done by women.
dpack

afaik most examples of viking combs are for hair n beard fettling

having tried it teasel flower heads do work for carding but it is rather slow ,combs have existed since the stone age and it is possible they were used for textiles as well as personal grooming
madcat

I had a look at Daegrad Tools online shop and they offer Anglo Saxon wool combs in pairs. There's also a single comb on its own ?

I was just curious about these and wondered if anybody here knew more about their use .

I'm considering combs and OH found theses on the Internet but fortunately didn't buy them.
I'd like a set of English combs but that's in the future.
Mistress Rose

I am not sure that teasels ever were used for carding Dpack. They were used for raising the knap on cloth, even into the 19th century as they are not as rough as metal pins, but they tend to break up or tangle for carding, making them no faster than teasing out by hand. One problem I had when researching a 17th century weaving loom was that the people who wrote about and drew pictures of the things were not the people who actually did the job. There was also a type of shorthand, so an industrious woman was depicted with a great wheel long after treadle wheels were common.

Combs and cards are not the same thing. Combs were used from medieval times in pairs; one attached to a post and the other used to do the combing, but not sure about Anglo Saxon. Have never covered that period. A single comb could be used to tease the tangled end of the fleece holding the main part in the hand or course, which would be a precursor to the full blown combing.
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