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I have a new item to add to my bucket list: spin mammoth wool. I know, I know, mammoths are currently extinct. But maybe not for long, eh? I’ve been doing a little research on fiber types, history of spinning, fiber prep…you know, all that stuff that was boring in grade school but becomes suddenly fascinating when you’re trying to learn the spinning trade. Teach Yourself Visually: Handspinning mentions that we have samples of spun wooly mammoth hair, and while neither did the author bother to cite this information nor have I yet found independent confirmation in searching the internet, the idea has me fascinated. Thanks to the miracles of modern science, there is a non-zero chance that a least a hybrid mammoth may walk the earth within my lifetime. It if does, I am going to line up with all the other fiber nuts to beg for an ounce or two of the ancient-ish hair. Just so I can say I’ve spun it.

In the meantime, however, I have plenty to keep me busy in wrestling with basic preparation of Romney wool. Here’s the thing: I have hand-cards. Every single tutorial I’ve come across has me roll the fiber off the cards like this to form a rolag:

But that means that the fibers are all sideways. How am I supposed to spin of that? I guess I could spin it woolen, but I’d like to get good-ish at the worsted technique I’ve been watching in tutorials. Can you spin worsted from a rolag? I’m afraid to try, though I don’t know why. The yarn can’t possibly be any worse than what I’ve been producing at this stage…

All the same, I’ve been trying to make pseudo-top with my hand-cards. Instead of rolling the fiber from top to bottom, I’ve been rolling it from side to side like this:

Then I take my little stubs (do these things have a real name?) and predraft them into a long strand, sort of squidging the ends together with another stub when I run out. The result is something like this:

Which I’ve managed to spin into this:

What I want to know is if my fiber prep method makes me (a) crazy, (b) a genius, or (c) guilty of reinventing the wheel. Any advice, more experienced spinners? My research has brought me to the conclusion that I should probably purchase a pair of combs, but let’s be honest: they’re an investment. I’m not spending between one and three hundred dollars on a tool until I find a supplier who can show me how to use it and help me confirm that  it  will, in fact, give me the fiber I want. That being said, if anyone feels like sending me free tools to review, I would not object…

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