I'm very new to spinning, and at this point, I do not have a wheel, I use spindles. I spent last evening using a flick carder on some very dirty Romney I've been washing and made a nice stack of clean well 'flicked' wool. I was wondering how to get this stack into top/roving or whatever I should be calling it. Do I need to get a diz? Is there a way to organize the wool into a ready to spin grouping any way other than through the use of a diz?
A diz is a very simple tool, used to pull a measured amount of fiber into a roving. It is usually used with the large mounted wool combs. However, when my children were small I was uncomfortable having sharp instruments like the mounted English combs in my house. Nevertheless, I still wanted to blend the locks and then use a diz to make a roving. This is what I did.
I used a large hair pick, mounted it vertically and clamped it to the edge of a table so the tines were sticking up. Then I flicked and combed several locks like you did, and I mounted or stacked them on the hair pick. To begin the blending, I hand-pulled off a roving, very much like pre-drafting. Using one hand and then another. Then I lashed the fibers back on the pick. This step is called "planking".
To re-lash the fibers I kept one hand behind the pick and the other held the end of the roving in front. I put the end of the fibers on the pick, the hand behind held to the tips and I pulled the roving away from the pick leaving a small portion on the pick. It is a very simple motion and I kept repeating it until all of the roving was back on the hair pick.
The diz I used was from a corner of a plastic milk carton, with a hole punched from the inside, using an ice pick or an awl. A hole the size you find in a button will make a very fine roving, a hole about 1/8 of an inch is a regular size roving, a 1/4 inch hole will make a very thick roving. You can make 3 holes in the same piece of plastic and then experiment. Note, you only use one hole at a time. The curve of the plastic will serve to gently funnel the fibers toward the hole.
To start, smooth all of the fibers into a point and draft out a few fibers, twist them tightly in one direction. Then let them ply back, the loop of yarn should be tight spun and will allow you to thread it through the hole. If you know where a very fine crochet hook is, that will also work to pull the fibers through.
Now hold the diz with one hand and pull all the fibers that fit through the hole, pull about 2/3 of a fiber length. Release the fibers and grasp them near the hole again and pull through more, continue in this manner until all of the fibers have come through. If it is too difficult to pull the fibers, move the diz about 1/2 inch away from the mass of fibers, (you are gathering too many fibers). If the roving starts getting too thin, move it back into the fibers, (the diz is not gathering enough fibers).
I usually place a smooth box under the roving and just let it fall into the box. Of course, it is helpful to do this when the cats and the little kids are not in the same room. They find the drifting roving irresistible.