Valkyrie Supply
I was looking for a subtle color blend that included at least one
surprising element (the ramie, in this case).
So far, and I say "so far" because the jury is out if I actually like
this particular combination of fibers: (from left to right) cochineal
dyed Cormo wool; cochineal/madder/logwood dyed yearling
mohair; Pernambuco wood dyed wondering if mohair;
Pernambuco wood dyed wondering if pernambuco
wood is the same thing as Brazilwood?  and undyed nylon icicle.
The fibers are "more or less" similar in length. Hopefully they're
close enough in length because if not, the shorter ones will be left
on the hackle after the longer ones play out...won't know for sure
until I try them together.

The diz at the top of the pic is a pretty, mother-of-pearl number,
featuring a multiple of holes to choose from.
The ramie and the mohair both were solar pre-mordanted (the
ramie with aluminum acetate and the mohair with aluminum sulfate)
and solar dyed as fiber. This treatment left the fibers slightly stuck
together...enough that I felt I needed to help separate the fibers
from each other prior to moving on to the next prep stage. For that
I used the Louet cotton carders pictured in the already shown pic at
Leslie's house. If you're wondering how to make "cigars," please
head over to my past post, My Dad & more on hand carding (ha! It
seems my Dad's past post held the key to cigar making, as well as
info on him!)
The purply/mauve, immersion dyed locks of the Cormo wool,
whose fibers were initially separated from each other with a dog
rake, had been previously drumcarded (about 5 years ago!) with
my motorized Patrick Green "Beverly" on slow speed, using the
super Merino drum. To quote myself in the "Sister Sweaters" article
(which included other dyed colors of this Cormo), Spin-Off, Winter
2003: "To insure thorough color blending, I stripped each batt into
four sections after one pass. With a strip from each of the four
batts, I did a second pass, feeding the strips diagonally to blend
them better. The reward for all this work was smooth,
uninterrupted spinning, with no streaks or noils." You'll find the
carded Cormo as nests, in the upper left-hand corner of the pic.

The brilliant white fiber in the upper right-hand portion of the pic is
the glitzy, nylon icicle. Me seems to need a bit of bling regularly
these days and the icicle fits the bill nicely. The cigars are the hand
carded ramie (light pink...dyed in combed "top" form) and the
yearling mohair (maroonish...dyed in combed "top" form).
I decided that it might be fun to use a hackle for the striated
blending of the fibers. The hackle I have is a two pitch (two rows),

Last month's post showed striated blending using mini-combs, with
their not-so-sharp teeth. There's nothing "mini" about this hackle
from a home fiber-prep standpoint. It's 18" across and the polished
steel tines must be described as "deadly"...that is, if you caught
your finger on a point or somehow....heaven forbid....fell onto it.
Please don't use a hackle such as this around kids, cats,
parakeets or when you're tired. Please store safely and well out of
the way, with it's cover on (I purchased a leather-ish cover that fits
snuggly over all the tines).

In the above pic, note how two C-clamps hold the hackle securely
in place on the table. Let's not even think about what would happen
if the hackle fell on one's feet, eh? I have chosen to use the
entirety of the the 18" by lashing fiber across all the teeth, in order
to show you that this can be done. 'course you don't have to use
the whole width if you'd rather not. But I chose not to "commit" to
filling up half the hackle with fiber at this point because I still am
not sure that this is the combination of fibers I want to use in the
final yarn and did not want to "commit" to using up too many fibers
at this point in my experimentations.

The fiber that I'm lashing on above, along the full 18" of the hackle,
is the drum carded Cormo wool. Now please remember that I had
first dog raked the locks prior to drum carding. This raking (a form
of combing) would have removed at least some of the shorter
fibers present in the wool locks. The drum carding would NOT
remove more of any remaining short fibers. This is because
carding of any type blends...including the blending of short and
long fibers together. Therefore, there's a chance that some shorter
fibers of this wool will be left in the hackles as the longer fibers
draft out first. I'll keep an eye out for this and see if any short
fibers remaining pose a problem in the end. I don't want to waste
any precious Cormo after all! Also, please remember that when
you lash fiber onto the hackle, you'll need to catch the tines, but
keep the majority of the fiber hanging off the front of the hackle. In
other words, have very little, if any, fiber coming off the backside
of the hackle (the side not facing you).

There are may configurations that one could choose in order to
arrange the fibers on a hackle. For the scoop on the gamut of
possibilities, I refer you to Deb Menz's excellent book, "Color In
Spinning," Interweave Press, 2005 paperbound. Just keep in mind
that how much of any of the fibers and/or colors you lash on, and
where you do so, will definitely affect the final outcome of the top.
Taking this further, how you spin that prepped top will also have an
affect on the final "look" of the yarn. The possibilities are just about
endless, me thinks.

Just so ya know, hackles are particularly GREAT to use for
striating the colors of combed top together (commercially prepared
top or hand/self prepared top)...especially wool top of the same
fiber length. You can striate a whole lotta fibers at one go using
such a tool. In fact, read Menz's book above to see how to get
results that would be definitely something other than striating.
Next I added some icicle bling across the full length of the hackle.
And some of the mohair on top of the nylon icicle.
Then a dose of the quite lustrous ramie.
And finally a topping of more Cormo wool.
I like to start at the right-hand edge of the hackle, working my way
from right to left. You could, of course, work from left to right
instead. Begin by bring a grouping of the fibers at one end to a
point, adding a bit of twist as you do so. Please note: I have no
idea why the colors of the fibers changed on these next pics, but
do know they are the same fibers as shown earlier.
Make a little ply-back from your point of fibers in order to
make it stiff enough to go through a diz hole.
The fibers are now through one of the diz's holes. The size
of the hole chosen will help determine the size/density of the
top that pulls off from the hackle
In order to make top, draw out about 1/4 to 1/2
the average staple length of the fibers used.
Again, I'm moving across the hackle slowly from
right to left, picking up fibers that'll go into my
top as I do so. If the hackle was more full of
fiber, you may end up going right to left, and
then left to right, and back again as
needed...until all or most of the fibers are
incorporated into your top.
Gently nudge the diz back towards the hackle
in order to be able to continue to draft out more
Another closer
view of this
Keep in mind
that you're not
looking to
wedge the diz
firmly up
against the
fiber, you're
just moving it
forward ever
so delicately.
Here's what the resulting striated top looked like.
Before winding into
a nest, I did do a
little pre-drafting.
A nest! Pretty
This is a portion of a post in Jeannine Bakriges' Blog,
(re posted with permission).  The original post can be found here -