Monday, November 10, 2008

Spinning Question and Knitting Start Overs

Remember when I built my DIY Hackle? Well, I got a great question about the differences between Hackles/Combs and Hand Cards and wanted to share the question/answer.

The question was:
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!

First, let me say Thank You for the great comment on my blog. You made my day yesterday when I read that!

Now, on to my answer:
Combs and Hackles are essentially the same thing in my opinion. They are both for dealing with long staple fibers, so it should be perfect for your angoras.

I would not say that they replace hand cards though.

Both hand cards (or extra large dog slicker brushes like I use) and hackles/combs are great for blending fibers. But here's the differences:

1. Hand cards would be better for shorter staples, hackles/combs for longer ones.

2. Depending on how you want to spin, the method that you use to straighten out and separate the fibers makes a big difference. Hand carding makes the "mini batts" or rolags that are great for woolen yarns and hackles/combs are great for the worsted yarns.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from ignoring any of the above and doing things your own way. There are so many ways to spin yarn. *You* are the master of your spinning and if another method works better for you, go for it.

Please remember that I'm not a spinning expert by any means. I'm still new to the hobby myself! I feel I've learned so much already, but I'm years away from being proficient at producing by own yarn. While I am not an expert, I could absolutely be considered an addict. :)

I re-picked up a knitting project that I started back in April before I got de-railed by all my Summer knitting deadlines. Remember this?

Well, I picked it back up and spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out where I had left off in the pattern. Then I remembered that there had been a problem with gauge. So I got out the measuring tape and the completed sleeve and went to town measuring. Turns out the sleeve was way too long and I decided that it would really bother me if I didn't re-do everything.

My reasoning for ripping out everything that I had previously done was this:
1. It was going to bug me forever if I didn't.
2. Row gauge in this pattern is going to be critical!
  • I really don't want sleeves that long and stopping early in the pattern wouldn't look right.
  • Also, when I get to the yoke part, the way I was going was going to add a good two inches around my shoulders making it not fit right up there at all.
So. The hours and hours of knitting disappeared in about 15 minutes flat. Oy vey or whatever the saying is.

I am now 3 inches into the first sleeve, again, but this time I'm using a size 6 needle instead of a 7 and my row gauge seems to be spot on. My stitch gauge doesn't seem to have been affected at all.

If you tackle this sweater, I wouldn't suggest doing a swatch in stockinette as the pattern suggests. You're not going to get the same gauge as what you would get when you do the cables, it's just not. going. to. happen. But that's just my 2 cents for ya.

I'll have another update with pics for you tomorrow!