Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hetchels, Hatchels and Hackles.....

February Greetings!!

Wow...really...February?
  
Although January, true to its ugly form, was tortuous and unrelenting, it passed blessedly quickly in some ways.  In others, it seemed like a month of Januarys.... (If you haven't figured it out, I do NOT like January....)

Anywho...I wanted to let you I'm still here....still buried...in snow and cold, teaching, my thoughts, and other assorted blarney.  My body, soul, and heart, are desperately and impatiently waiting on spring.

I still haven't managed to put all the Christmas merriment away (but the tree is down...yea!)  I put a few things away here and there on my trips to Mount Laundry and, as I put back in place the "pre-merriment" decor little by little, I pondered what photos I might share with you.  Because, after all, even a "check-in" post needs a photo or two, no?  And, surely, you are weary of the "whiteness" of Nod (even Jack Frost has worn out his welcome here).  But as I pondered, my heart smiled when I went to put these back.  I love them so.  Most think they are a strange thing to collect, but there is something about the melding of wood and metal and wear from usage that endear them to me.

Wool or flax hetchels...or hatchels...or hackles....They've been called by various and sundry names (kinda like me....)  If you are not familiar with them, they were used to prepare flax for spinning.  The flax plant's fibers (lying between the bark and core) were separated by soaking ("retting"), pounding, and scraping.  The fibers, one bunch at a time, were then drawn through the spikes of a hetchel.  Most often, many different sized hetchels were used - starting with a wider openings downs to smaller ones until the long broken fibers were spin-ready.  (This low-grade fiber was called "tow.")    

So, now that you've had your history lesson for the day (and probably learned some new words), here is my (pathetically small) "collection" (hey, I'm going by the rule of threes, so a "collection" it is....):   

This one is my favorite....It's a bow-tie hetchel - most likely Pennsylvania Dutch (note the original painting on the corners):
 
 (Sasha would like you to also note that February is cat appreciation month....)

Here's a "catless" version:
 

I love the old worm holes in the wood....


These are variations of the hetchel and are more commonly called flax combs:
 

 This is my most recent addition:


 
(The flax comb above is a reproduction - artfully crafted by the amazing Art Haber at Old Colony Primitives.)

If I make it through February, I promise to be a better blogger in March....
I think of you all often and pop in when I can.  I may not always comment, but I have been reading when I can.  

She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  Proverbs 31:13

27 comments:

Raymond Homestead said...

Thanks for the history lesson, that was interesting. Give Sasha a hug for me!

Angela said...

Good to hear from you Robin. Was wondering if you were buried in snow there in Nod. Think we are all pleased to say goodbye to January. What a different collection. Just ordered some flax off the internet. Interesting and informative post. Take care.
Angela

Primitive Stars said...

Hi, so nice to see a post from, you have me all excited........What a wonderful prim looking tool, very interesting history...Sweet Sasha gets into the act.....thanks for the lesson, never have seen that before, Blessings Francine.

TheRustyThimble said...

Was just thinking about you this morning Robin
Hugs
Brenda

Laurie said...

beautiful post, a person that enjoys the tactile feeling of tools well used, well loved is my kinda gal, take my friend,

Mary said...

Hi- I love your collection of flax implements. I love them as well. We have a wall with a collection of all sorts of hatchels, hetchels and hackles hanging that we've gathered over the years. Hope spring comes to you soon! -Mary

prims by olde lady morgan said...

Robin, You do have most delightful collections my friend! we finally got a wee bit of snow today... about 4 inches, that should put us at about 6 for the season...it's the freezin cold that is kicking my A**... hugs. OLM

BumbleBeeLane said...

We've just a coating of the white stuff,blustery and cold.Ok cause I'm nestled in.Hmmm thinking maybe the german/dutch Heckle should come back to it's PA homeland.You know I could give it a home..smile...Seriously it's a lovely piece.I have one and some combs/carders.Think of you often.Hope things are going better.Hugs!~Amy

frontporchprims said...

Hi Robin. Nice to see you checking in. The hetchel is so cool. The holes in the wood are beautiful. Now how do you display these things in your home? I am sure they are very good conversation starters:) I would love to have a couple because the are so darn pretty. TFS.
So, what would you consider blarney? I had to laugh at that. I would think that blarney would be just the irritating, time wasting, eye rolling, and nonsensical things that fill our daily lives:) Good luck with Februrary. -Steph-

jennifer768 said...

Love your wonderful collection!Now I want one..or a dozen.LOL!Thanks for the history lesson.Stay warm my friend.Hugs,Jen

Heather Wise said...

You're such a good teacher! I always learn so much from you, My Dear Dueling Nerd! I say that with utmost love and respect! I know you and I are on the same page with the teaching thing... Ugh. I am feeling your pain. Friday was not good... I don't have my Christmas decor down either! But love the wood! I love worm holes!!!!!! Gorgeous! Love the cat too!

Blessings and hugs!!!!
Heather

marly said...

Great photos! You have such wonderful items. Stay warm!

Rugs and Pugs said...

Robin ~
Yup, three of something makes it a collection :) Sweet collection you have there. You do find some really cool stuff.
I am not fond of January or February either. Heck, I'd prefer summer all year long.
Hugs :)
Lauren

Cindi said...

Hi Robin, I can't believe how much snow you have had up there...and cold too boot. Tried coming up there to Tomahawk two Tuesdays in a row but the swimming meets were canceled. Going to Stevens Point next Saturday for the sectional meet. Where do you teach? What do you teach? You are kinda between Merrill and Medford right? A little south probably? It is so hard to believe that I know where you are! LOL Can't wait to hear more from you in March!
Be blessed,
Cindi

Jan - Life on Buttermilk Hill said...

Hi Robin! You collect the most unusual things...if I had seen those pieces I would have thought they were torture devices! ;) So cool! I always knew I was out of whack with the world...I am NOT looking forward to Spring...Spring means I can't burrow away in the house but have to pack the van every weekend and trek to a show. Just not ready for that yet! Stay warm in Nod!-----Jan

bettyj said...

What an unusual collection.I like it. You will make it through Feb and spring will come. I love the scritpure that says, " Joy cometh in the morning". Hang on

Shirlee said...

Oh my friend ... you have the most wonderful conglomeration of stuff! I always love seeing your collections & decor! And what's this about January? Ugly? You are longing for spring? How we manage to be friends is beyond me : ) It's talcum powdering this morning. I'll take what I can get but I'll always want more : )

Deppen homestead 1862 said...

Hi, Cranky~
Been a long time for me also~ blogging~ missing everyone~ but yes it was a longggggg January~ I am ready for spring birds, warmth, and the smell of flowers & dirty soiled paws!
Sasha is so pretty~ but I am telling ya love this collection~ so you~ luv it!
hugs & smiles~
Teresa

Kim said...

Oh Dear.....I'm a wool fiend and hooker (rug, if you please) and I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about in your post title. I hang my head in wooly shame.
Thanks for the lesson :)

Prims By The Water said...

Love your hatchels and flax comb. Alas I do not have any of these, but I do have a flax winder. Yours are beauties.. I love anything with worm holes. I am sick of snow here too..it has snowed here for the last 4 days now. Have a great week, Janice

lilraggedyangie said...

I love visiting my fave feathered friend as I always learn many new things I might otherwise never learn so much fun . Have a great week. hugs lil raggedy angie

Primlish ♥ said...

Beautiful collections! I'm with you, if you have 3 it's a collection in my book.
You are the best teacher. The way you are with words can make memorizing the phone book interesting.

Mugwump Woolies said...

Hi Ms. Crow...this is such a wonderful collection. The wood and metal combo is always an appealing mix. However, I have to admit, the first thing I think when I see these in person is..ouch...that's gonna leave a mark!...and the word impale pops up as well. Annie often collects things around the house and lines them up on her pillow...well...you can see where this is going...But I'll bet they look wonderful at your house! Really neat collection!
Robyn

Pamela@ Our Pioneer Homestead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela@ Our Pioneer Homestead said...

Hi Robin,
I have those same pinkeeps, but I love how you have them dislayed! You have such a lovely primitive collection...I have been meaning to pick myself up some carding combs.When I do, I think I'll display the pinkeeps like that!
All the best,
Pamela

Karen said...

What an interesting post...I learned some things today.
Those pillow tucks in the last picture are just beautiful...and the flax color is coming through perfectly in the photo
.
Karen

A Primitive Homestead said...

These pieces are wonderful. I noticed your wall. I like it. Blessings! Lara