Combing Top from Teeswater

Combing Top

How to make Combed Top from Teeswater

To prepare long wool for spinning, the best way to do it if the locks are over 3 inches long or if you prefer to spin it in a worsted style is to comb it.

Tools needed:

A pair of hand combs.  The kind I have are Viking combs. They have two rows of tines which is called two pitched.  I also have a holder that clamps to a table to hold one of the combs stationary while combing.

Start by latching on the locks:

To put the locks on the comb is called "latching on".  Take a lock and determine the cut end.  Put the cut end on the comb.  Place all the locks' cut end in the comb teeth.


Use the other comb and start combing the very ends that are sticking out.  You want to catch only the tip end of the lock.  As you do this the lock will transfer from the stationary comb to the one you are combing with.  The fibers are being combed straight and kept in the same orientation.

Switch Combs:

After you have transferred as much wool as possible from the stationary comb to the moving comb, pull off what is left on the stationary comb and set it aside.  Put the comb with all the wool on it in the holder so you can comb it again.

How Many Passes?

The number of times you need to comb the fiber back and forth depends on the wool you are combing.  It should look smooth and fluffy when you are finished.  The Teeswater I am working on requires 3 passes.  Sometimes there is a lock that has not been combed as well as it needs to be.  I usually pull it out and put it in with the next batch of wool.


When you are finished combing, the last step is Dizzing it into Top.  A Diz is anything with a hole in it through which you pull the wool.  Gather the wool on the comb together in your hand lightly pulling it into a point.  Thread the point through the hole in the Diz.  Push the Diz toward the comb.  Pinch the wool and pull it toward you.  You should pull it about 1/2 the length of the lock.  Now push the Diz back toward the comb again and pull it toward you.  Repeat this until most of the wool is off the comb.  Not all the fiber will come off the comb.  Shorter locks will not come off.  You can combine all the shorter fibers together and comb them.

You made Combed Top:

This is combed top that you just removed from the combs.  The fibers are aligned in the same orientation.  This is what you use to spin worsted style yarn.

It looks Like Roving:

Many people don't know the difference between roving and top.  When you align the fibers, like you just did, it is Top.  

If you use hand-cards, a drum carder, or a blending board what you take off is Roving.  Roving has the fibers mixed up in all different directions and is usually more fluffy than Top.  Roving is used to spin woolen yarn which introduces air and loft into the yarn.

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    hand-carding machine makes carded wool with hand carding and also spinning hand machine

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