Monday, July 14, 2008

DIY! My new toy!

This weekend I found a new DIY project to tempt me away from all other responsibilities. I made a Hackle.

What the H*ll is a Hackle you ask?

It's a tool used for combing out and blending fiber which is then pulled through a Diz to make roving for spinning. That's it in a nutshell.

First, I'd like to thank Travis (who is married to the Yarnzombie) from the blog The Land for coming up with this idea which costs about $10 bucks to make. Brilliant. They have a couple of videos at The Land that show you how to use the Hackle along with the how to for making it.

What you need for the whole project:

Combs or hair picks
Self Drilling Screws
Drill - If you use a screwdriver it make take you two years to complete
Diz or Button
Crochet Hook
C Clamps

I made one modification to the project and that was using combs instead of hair picks. That way, I wouldn't have to cut anything off at the bottom. My hubby already gets really nervous when I start these kind of projects. I can't imagine the apoplectic fit he would have had when I went for the jig or circular saws. :)

It's very simple. I grabbed a large vise while working on the project and put the board in it to hold it steady. Then I placed a comb on the edge of the board and used masking tape to hold it steady. The masking tape also helps to keep the screws from traveling all over the place while your drilling and it helps cut down on the scratching and/or splitting of the combs. Then just grab your drill and screws and go to town attaching those combs to the board.

The length of the board is up to you. The longer the board, the longer the piece of roving that you will end up with.

Here it is complete and clamped to the table with the C-clamps:

Here's the button that I grabbed to use as my Diz and the crochet hook used to pull the fibers through the button holes:

Now why on earth would you want to do this? Here's one example for you.

Here's some roving that came in a grab bag when I placed an order at Sheep Shed Studio. I love grab bags, you never know what you'll get. This, though, was fugly and matted. It looked like the hair that comes off the rear end of a mangy dog:
How does it look now after putting it through the Hackle?


I'm dying to play with blending different color fibers now. I've got some roving (some wool and some mohair) soaking in the sink now in preparation for dyeing. I'm going to dye 8 different batches of color and then play with the new hackle.


  1. I've kind of thought about this (how's that for ambivalent?) since that article a while back in Spin Off on blending yarns with a hackle....of course, I am so backed up with spinning etc I haven't used my combs or hand cards since May, but that's neither here nor there when I want a new toy, is it? And lovely top, by the way!

  2. Yay! Rock on with your DIY hackle! :) I had to laugh when I saw that you combed up some of the Sheep Shed stuff on there, because that's one of the first things I combed on mine. It's also great for fluffing out roving that has maybe been dyed and rinsed a bit too exuberantly... not that I would know anything about that... :)

  3. Thank you both!

    And thanks Jacki for the great idea! I'm having a blast with it.

  4. I found a link to your site from yarnzombie's blog--I just wanted to say thanks for posting such great pictures and infomation. I am a way new spinner and have been looking for a way to build wool combs with hair picks. I just have one question and it sounds kinda dumb-- what's the difference between wool combs and a hackle? Actually I guess I have two questions....does this process replace hand carding? I have mohari from my own angora goats and I think that the combing/hackle processw would work better as it is a longer staple. I will have to look up your page on ravelry. Thanks again and have a great weekend!

  5. Hi,
    I am sitting here with a dog comb and a whole fleece of newly washed Wensleydale - and after several hours hard work and very little to show for it - I am desperately seeking better tools for the job. Your hackle looks really interesting! How does it work? Can you show a picture of it in action? Thanks! Agnete

  6. Hi Agnete!

    Oh Wensleydale! I'm jealous

    You can go here to see a couple of videos:

    These will explain the use of the hackle so much better than I ever could. I hope the hackle will be helpful to you with your fleece.


  7. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Can you tell me..why do you pull thru a button? I've seen it on other sites as well but don't know why that is done.

    Thanks so much

  8. This looks so much safer than my nordic combs. Does this work for raw fleece?

  9. Cindel, You pull through a button because it predrafts the fiber. It creates a "roving" which is fiber all lined up in a row that makes it easier to spin.

  10. Anonymous12:51 AM

    I am so excited. A friend of me is sending me a hackle to play with, and after watching some of the you tube vids on how to make roving with a hackle, I'm just beyond excited to start! I LOVE your idea for a hackle made with combs!