Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hackle Action

Happy Birthday to me! I am twenty-three. I like wool and knitting, and wish I had more yarn free!

I've been super busy, but am still playing catch-up with things I've been working on lately. Did I tell you I got the wheel? Exciting! But we'll save that for another day, because while I'm still behind on keeping you updated on my goings on, I've got some more fun to share with you.

What if I said 8 oz of wool? What if I said 8 oz of Blue Faced Leicester. What if I said my dad and I made a blending hackle?

Okay, most likely if I said these things, you'd say, "I have no idea what you're talking about," because you're not quite into the spinning thing like I am yet. Sometime soon I will suck you in.

Well, we can all get together on the wool part. Blue Faced Leicester is a breed of sheep that is supposed to be very soft with a nice luster and a longer staple (length of each fiber) than merino. I bought some because I would like to attempt to spin some Noro-like yarn with long color repeats for entrelac. For this, I needed multi-colored wool, and I think batts would give me the best approximation of a Noro yarn. However...I don't have the money to purchase batts. Batts are expensive! Which makes sense, because they involve work, but I am a poor, poor medical student who just bought a wheel and doesn't have money for these things.

So I told my father we needed to make a hackle. He said, "What the heck is a hackle?" I said, "look at this website!" That guy looks like he makes really nice hackles. I was just aiming for something that works. You might look at the hackle and say, "That looks really dangerous." It looks even more so in person. Especially ours. But first let's have some pictures of the wool. Because we can all get together on the wool.

I dyed it seven different colors, a little over an ounce each. These were then bagged and ready to go for hackle action.

Oh my, here's our hackle. And me in my hat, because my parents like to keep the house cold. They say you can always wear more warm clothes in the winter...I disagree. You can only wear so much until you can't move anymore and the sleeves catch on your hackle while you're trying to work. The hackle was made by drilling a bunch of hole in a board in a zig-zag pattern, sanding the board, and then putting the nails in. We found the longest nails we could that were about 3.5" long, washed them, and stuck them in a 3/4" thick oak board. Then another oak board was glued on the bottom for strength. Then the entire thing was sanded once again.

I'm practicing here with some green wool that I dyed and wasn't fond of the color. You can see the nails are a bit wonky and non-parallel because we didn't have a drill press. However, it still worked fine.

About one ounce of each was saved to be the main color, and the leftovers were added to the mixing color pile. I then placed (there's a term for that, but I don't remember what it is) the main color all along the length of the hackle, then some of the mixing colors, then some more of the main, then some more of the mixing, so that when I pulled the diz (something you find around your house with a hole in it) across, there was a bit of color mixing going on.

Very colorful. It kind of reminds me of a monster on Sesame Street, but I don't know which one. Maybe if we stuck a bunch of them in a mixer, this is what it would be.

And finally, the best of them all, Hackle Action!

I'm grabbing a bit of the wool from the top to the bottom into the diz (random ring) and pulling it through to make, um, let's call it roving. More like wool blobs, but you should surely be able to tell by now that I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing.

You might say, "Well, the wool on the hackle looks more blended in the second picture." That's because it is. I put both batches through two times, for an initial blending and then a second to make it look better. Yup. Not a clue what I'm doing.

The final pic is merely of the leftover wool that didn't get pulled into roving and was too nubbly to do anything with. Mmmm, look at that crimp. And yes, of course I spun it up into a nubbly bit of yarn. We can't go around wasting wool resources.

Did I forget to take pictures of the finished product...maybe. I'm just trying to increase the suspense for you to see them on another day! Wish me luck on my tests this coming week.


1 comment:

Karen said...

I think I remember you talking about this earlier. I do remember, because I thought it sounded dangerous. Happy birthday to you!!--Hope you enjoyed the birthday greetings from Jesus. There was going to be a birthday package, but that's going to have to be belated. Good luck on your tests. I'm busy studyin' myself.