Slight change of plans...we are going to start the tutorials with the Art Roving Hackle. The Art Roving Hackle was designed to make textured/chunky rovings for spinning art yarns BUT will also do smooth rovings as well. The hackle has an 18" working face with 5" tines in a 1 pitch setting to allow chunkier items such as whole locks, novelty yarn, etc. to be dizzed more easily through the tines. All of the specs on the Art Roving Hackle can be found here and we have several videos for the Art Roving hackle. In this tutorial we will go over the basics and create a "semi-smooth" art roving.........smooth with texture.....with tutorials on making more textured/chunky art rovings and smooth ones as well to follow in the next few weeks.~~~Beth
When setting up your Art Roving Hackle you want to make sure you have a good heavy sturdy table with a 2" or so lip to attatch it to. I'm dead serious about the table being heavy and sturdy, it's a must! Make sure the clamps are pushed as far in the hackle as they will go and the metal bar of the clamps should be right up against the table edge. The hackle edge should be even or a smidge over the lip of the table. Once everything is lined up tighten down the clamps. You think you have the clamps tight but do you really?? It's time to test them before you start playing. Grab the base of the hackle on either end or the base that the tines set in and push it back and forth, put some effort into it! If the hackle moves it's not tight enough, if you move the heavy table and the hackle stays put you're good to go!
Loading the Hackle
So we're ready to start playing! Get your fiber together that you intend to play with. Picture #4 is what I chose to play with:
20/80 silk merino top--3-3 1/2" staple, novelty yarn cut into 4ish" lengths, silk top--5 1/2" to 6" staple, firestar--4" staple, angelina/crystal metallic--8" staple, kid mohair locks--4" staple, romney fleece --5 1/2" staple, merino fleece --4 1/2"-5" staple, alpaca top-- 3 1/2" -4" staple, faux cashmere--3 1/2" staple, bamboo--3-3 1/2" staple
All of the fleece I'm using has been washed/scoured to remove any lanolin. You DO NOT want to use raw fleece as it will leave grease on your tines that will be difficult to remove. The romney fleece has been run through the picker to remove vegetable matter and the merino fleece was coated so it's pretty clean. You will want to remove as much VM (vegetable matter) as possible before loading your fiber onto the hackle.
I started with approx. 2.2 oz. total of fiber layering it on the hackle. When lashing the fiber on I generally get a handful and catch about 1" of the ends onto the top of the tines and gently pull the fiber down onto the tines and back toward me. You don't want huge gobs of fiber going on the hackle at once as they will be extremely difficult to diz off. Things work much better if you do thinnish layers. As you can see above I have chosen fibers that vary from 8" in staple length to 3". As a rule, the longer fibers will diz off and leave the short ones behind so to mitigate this after loading a layer of a shorter fiber I gently grab the ends and tug them side to side pulling them through the hackle just a little so they will diz off with the longer fibers. For some fibers such as angelina/crystal metallic, novelty yarn, whole curly locks, etc. I find actually laying them between the tines works better than trying to lash them on and they diz off easier as well. The last thing concerning loading is to NOT OVER LOAD your hackle. An over loaded is extremely hard to diz off of AND you have a very high "waste factor". Nobody likes wasting fiber! I suggest that the Art Roving Hackle not be loaded more than 2" to 2 1/2" when gently packed down.......meaning press it down gently to compact it and see where you are on the tines. I will show you the wisdom of this when we diz.
PREPARING FOR DIZZING:
Once the hackle is loaded fluff up your fibers to within the top 1/2" of the tines. Check the back side and make sure the fiber looks as evenly distributed as you can make it. Sometimes the front side will look fluffed and even but upon inspection in the back you can see where there are still compacted areas. My example isn't the best for showing this since I used fleece with whole locks...it looks like it's really packed on the hackle but it's not. Now your fluffed and need to chose your diz. The diz should be choosen taking into account what fiber you have on the hackle....smooth top, large chunky locks, etc. I have 3 sizes pictured, these are the ones I mainly use.
Upper left: 1/4" for smooth roving, upper right: 3/8" for really textured and chunky roving. My choice was the center diz: 3/16" for semi smooth roving that has a little texture. The dizzes I use are fender washers from the hardware store. They are inexpensive and come in a wide variety of sizes.
Parting Don King's Hair--my suggested method for dizzing on our longer hackles
I came up with this method of "Parting Don King's Hair" for the longer hackles after playing with them a bit and finding this method is 1) easier on the person dizzing in the sense of the pulling that goes on AND 2) there is much less waste fiber. From the pictures you can see that when I loaded the hackle I seperated the two halves with cardboard. On the right side of the hackle we will use the "Parting Don King's Hair" method. On the left side I'll show you what happens if you try to diz across the whole face of the hackle.
Parting Don King's Hair: begin by finding the center of your fiber starting at the edge of the hackle. With your fingers work down the hackle horizontally seperating the fibers so there is a top half and a bottom half much the way you would part hair. Try and get the halves as even as possible. Once the fiber has been parted from end to end use your hands to push the lower half down and look for any fibers on the tines at the center part that may have been missed. With both hands, sandwich the fiber on the top half between your palms to sort of pat it together so the top layer is better defined. Again, the top half of the fiber should be within 1/2" approx. from the top of the tines. If the fiber gets to close to the top of the tines gently push it back down..........you really don't want it popping off while you're dizzing!
Now, starting at the top right (or left, whichever is most comfortable for you) grab the tips of the fibers on the edge of the hackle giving the ends a little twist making it easier to put them through the diz. Begin dizzing across the top. Do not pull your diz much more than the length of the shortest fiber on your hackle. Mine shortest fiber was about 3" so I wouldn't pull more than 3 1/2" max.
Okay, so you are at the far end of the hackle with only a little more on the top half to diz off. With the diz extended out toward you and the last of the fiber from the top half of the hackle in the diz reach down and grab up the tips of the fiber on the edge of the bottom half of the hackle just below you. Hold the tips from the bottom half with the top half and gently guiding the diz down, pull them both through the diz together finishing off the fiber on the top half of the hackle and starting the fiber on the lower half. Diz across the lower half until you reach the end. The fiber I dizzed off weighed 1 oz. As you can see the waste was minimal and would not even register on the scale.......my guess is 0.2oz or less.
What happens when you diz across the entire face of the hackle........
You can diz across the entire face of the hackle when it's full BUT I don't mainly because it is much harder to diz with lots of tugging and pulling going on AND MOSTLY because there is significantly more waste. I have noticed this with every fiber I've used and with mill combed top in particular. You can compare pictures #19 and #23 and see the difference while it's on the hackle. I was able to diz off 0.6 oz of top going across the entire face of the hackle and ended up with 0.4 oz of waste.......that's almost 50% waste and that's way to much in my opinion.
In a nutshell:
--make sure your hackle is securely clamped to a heavy sturdy table
--do not load your hackle more than 2 to 2 1/2" gently packed
--when mixing longer and shorter fibers gently tug shorter fibers to bring them forward on the hackle before putting on the next layer
--chose your diz according to the type of fiber prep you have made
--don't forget to "Part Don King's Hair" before dizzing
Odds and ends:
--the amount of fiber you get off the hackle weight wise will vary according to the type of fiber as well as the type of fiber prep you are creating (smooth, semi, textured)
--do not braid dizzed roving....it is much lighter and airy than mill combed top and when unbraiding it can break
--hand combed fleece leaves the least amount of waste of any fiber I've tried with mill combed
top leaving the most waste.
NECESSARY WARNING: The tines are blunted on the ends but still sharp and will cause injury unless all due caution and care are employed in their use and storage. Please do not use these in close proximity to others or pets. Do not allow others unfamiliar with combing to use these without direct and constant supervision. Do not allow children of any age, convicted felons, former presidents of the U.S. or other questionable individuals to use or have access to these. Please store them immediately after use to prevent inadvertent injury to yourself or others.