Monday, January 9, 2012

The Art Roving Hackle Part 2: Making Smooth Art Roving

Hello all! In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to make smooth Art Roving on the Art Roving Hackle. It's one of the lovely things about this will do textured/chunky roving as well as smooth and all points in between. Gotta love a versatile tool!

In this particular tutorial I have split the Art Roving Hackle into two sections with my high tech piece of cardboard. I want to demonstrate that the type of fiber you put on the hackle along with how much you pack it and how you diz it also effects how much fiber and waste you end up with. For this tutorial one half will be a mixture of mill combed top and add ins with the other half being hand combed top and add ins.

I will not be repeating instructions that were previously explained in the Art Roving Hackle Part 1 so for attaching the hackle and basic loading and dizzing you will need to refer to that tutorial. Alright, let's get started!

The Fiber

I have weighed out two batches of fiber with each weighing 2 oz. As I am only using half of the hackle for each batch of fiber I was not able to get all of the fiber on the hackle.

Mill Combed Batch 1: banana silk 6" staple, merino top 3 1/2 to 4" staple, crystal metallic/angelina 8" staple, faux cashmere 3" staple, silk top 4-5" staple, firestar 3 1/2" staple, 20/80 silk merino top 4" staple

Hand Combed Batch 2: rambouillet combed fleece 3 1/2" staple, silk top 4-5" staple, soy silk 3 1/2" staple, alpaca combed fleece 3 1/2" staple, banana silk 6" staple

I want to note here that there are many ways to load the hackle according to the fiber prep you are trying to accomplish. These tutorials are not intended to teach you "colorwork" to achieve various effects with color. There are many books and videos on the subject of colorwork so I do not intend to go into that aspect of hackling in depth.

Loading The Hackle
We're going to start with fiber Batch #2 which is the hand combed top. The Rambouillet and Alpaca were combed on my comb and hackle set. First, I want to explain that hand combed top is not as dense as mill combed and, depending on the type of wool, tends to "poof" a bit more on the hackle than mill combed top. I didn't want to layer colors this time mostly because I'm lazy so I made fiber bundles. To make a fiber bundle I simply pulled my hand combed top into lengths of 12-14" and then drafted pieces of my add ins to about the same length and bundled them all together. I lashed the fiber on holding the bundle and turning it occasionally to mix up the fibers and colors. Once you've lashed all your fiber on if you have pieces that are significantly longer than the rest of your fiber on the back or the front of the hackle (silk is famous for doing this) you can pull it out and lash it back on. When the hackle is filled (don't overload!!!) don't forget to fluff it up before dizzing.

With the mill combed top I made a fiber bundle just like I did for the hand combed top above. If you are using fibers like angelina/crystal metallic, firestar, etc. you can draft them out in the center of a fiber bundle and then lay some pieces of top on top of it to sandwich the fibers in the center of the bundle. This will keep them in place.

Ready to Diz

So the hackle is all loaded and now we need to pick our diz. I'm going for the 3/16" fender washer again since this is a smooth roving and that's my favorite size. Now we need to prep the fiber for dizzing and since I packed the hackle I had to "Part Don King's Hair" in order to diz off the most fiber with the least waste.

Start your dizzing in the top right hand corner as explained in the Art Roving Hackle Part 1 tutorial. The closer you get to the tines the more fiber you will diz off. However, be prepared for a little bit of a fight if you choose to do this as the fiber is harder to diz the closer you get to the tines. You will also get a roving that is thicker in some places and thinner in others. Dizzing takes practice and the more you do it the better you'll get at it and understand all the little tricks to doing it that are impossible to tell you in words.

I was able to load 1.6 oz of the mill combed fiber bundle on half the hackle. Dizzed off I got 1.2 oz of gorgeous roving but as you can see, the mill combed top left behind alot of waste....0.4 oz. I find this to be the case every time and I believe it is because mill combed top has several different lengths of fibers in it (I've found within the same top staple lengths from 2-4" long) .

The same procedure is used for the fiber Batch #2 Hand Combed Top. I was able to load 1.4 oz of the fiber on the hackle. Hand combed top is much "poofier" than mill combed and tends to "climb" the tines on it's own. You can press it down but it will spring right back up and so you don't want to over fill your hackle or your fiber could very well poof itself right off the hackle. Don't ask me how I know this! After dizzing, I was able to get 1.2 oz of lovely top leaving 0.2 oz of waste. As you can see there is quite a difference in the amount of waste between the two batches of fiber with the mill combed top having twice as much waste as the hand combed. I'm not saying you shouldn't use mill combed top. I love using mill combed top BUT you do need to be aware that there will more than likely be more waste....also known as drum carder fodder because it makes lovely batts!