Loading the Hackle
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.
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
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.
What happens when you diz across the entire face of the hackle........
--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.