Thursday, 22 April 2010


Having been given a roasting by a lady whose "hackles" were up after visiting Kentwell to find a gaggle of girls half heartedy using modern carders to prepare wool. She was adament that these carders would not have been available (feel free to tell me differently) but that wool would have been prepared using "hackles". I followed her lead to find out more about hackles and how to use them. If you want to do the same, do a search on u-tube there are various videos of people using a variety of different hackles and wool combs (which look similar to hackles - just a bit smaller).

In the course of all this I came across a one video which I beleive may give an amazing insight into how wool might have been prepared and used in tudor times. Its called "what people do with wool in a rural part of Serbia" - do have a look, its amazing. They use their fingers and/ or hackles to prepare the wool; they spin in a variety of different ways; they appear to put a woollen garment into a fire; the immerse garments in water and beat them with a paddle. The paddle is just like those shown in a picture of washerwomen in tudor times (which I now cannot find). Do have a look at this video, once you get through the evocative music at the beginning it is absolutely fascinating.

OK not wool but wiki describes the use of hackles with flax; "in this process the fibre is pulled through various different sized hackles. A hackle is a bed on nails, sharp; long; polished steel pins drivne into wooden blocks at regular spacing. A good progression is from 12 pins per square inch; to 12; to 25; to 48; to 80. The first three will remove the straw and the last two will split and polish the fibres. Someof the finer stuff that comes off the last hackles can be carded like wool."

I'd love to find out more - can you contribute any information?

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