Using the 'Minty' wool picker July 15 2017
We have been selling the fabulous Minty wool picker for quite a while now and have sent orders all over the UK and Europe. Now we have one in the shop available for people to test drive or for them to borrow for free to prepare small amounts of their own fleece on our join in Saturdays.
Today Dianne from Stratford upon Avon guild of weavers spinners & dyers came in with some very nice (but smelly) raw Cotswold fleece. It looked quite matted and was obviously going to make her drum carder work a bit harder than she would like. So we put some though the Minty picker...
We went slowly, much slower than an experienced user would, but we were not in any great hurry and frankly we were a bit intimidated by the medieval looking spikes on the picker! "make sure that you wear the gloves" and "use the pusher stick" were Dave's constant cries from over her shoulder. You do need to take great care when using the picker.
It only took a few minutes to get used to the picker and to get a feel for how much swing was required. One top tip was to add a couple of full length swings every 10 or so swings which seemed to clear out the spikes and drag more fleece into the centre of the machine. Also, don't worry too much about picking out fibres from the spikes - just keep going and feeding through fresh fleece.
Our little and often approach seemed to work well and we were soon gaining confidence and were impressed with nice pile of fluffy looking fleece pilling up at the rear of the picker. This prepared fleece looked much more ready for the drum carder or hand carders. It was also quite spinnable without any further processing and would produce an irregular fat yarn with slubs and bobbles. You could quite easily feed 2 or 3 different fleece breeds through and blend them with the picker! Quite a bit of the vegetable matter dropped out of the fibres and this lay in the base of the picker. A long bristled brush would be best for sweeping this out when finished.
We were both very impressed with the picker. It was obviously rugged enough to withstand the hard work of picking matted fleece and our guess was that it could go on all day preparing many fleeces. Not a cheap bit of kit but definitely worth the investment for some people. Each wool picker is made to order.
Thank you Dianne for your help with this review
This apparatus contains very sharp points. It should only be used with the utmost care and respect by experienced responsible adults. Never use the machine around children. Never leave unattended. Always take appropriate safety precautions.