Friday, April 05, 2013

gangs of whorls for fliers

Some would say that the last post was very unfair, as both Alden Amos and Henry Clems HAVE made DRS spinning wheels and had to take them back when the wheel would not produce the yarn desired by the spinner.  Alden in particular has colorful language about the difficulties of  designing a DRS system to produce a specified yarn and the potential for any DRS system to stop functioning for no obvious reason.  (Every DRS system will result in pools of tears/ sweat at some time. )

DRS controlled spinning requires spinning techniques that are not taught in modern spinning classes.  And, if you are limited to the techniques taught in modern spinning classes, you will have poor results with DRS controlled equipment.  For example, "long draw" spinning does not work. At this time, DRS gear would not be my first choice for spinning woolen yarn. On the other hand, one reason for spinning woolen is that spinning woolen can be fast, but DRS allows me to spin worsted much faster than most flier wheels can spin woolen.

Henry Clems says the pages on DRS in AA have caused him a lot of problems.  People read AA, and ask Henry for a DRS wheel, then they can't produce the yarn that they want, and  they make him take the wheel back.

Thus, we have the chicken and egg problem.  Spinning classes do not teach the techniques because nobody has the equipment. And, nobody has the equipment because there was no class on how to use it. There is also the problem that not many wheel mechanics understand the equipment and can find those not obvious mechanical issues.

However, this does not absolve the high status, expert spinners. If they were really interested in moving the craft to finer, and faster, worsted spinning, they would talk about DRS and tell beginning spinners about the equipment and the additional required skills.

A gang of flier whorls of slightly different diameters (steps of 1/32") allows changing inserted twist by simply moving the drive band.  Thus, inserted twist can be held relatively constant as the effective diameter of the bobbin changes as single is wound on.

I intend to make a full set of these so I can spin any grist (twist) on bobbins with any effective diameter.  And, now I intend to start making bigger bobbins.  I did not need bigger bobbins when I was winding off frequently to prevent the effective diameter of the bobbin from changing.

Now, I can spin a full hank of a medium single without winding off.



Anonymous said...

It is quite amazing to me that all of your definitions of 'proper technique' leave you the expert and the one creating things that others aren't capable of because of our 'narrow-mindedness.' The manner in which you describe most modern knitters and spinners, especially those that you have defined as having "high status" in the knitting world, is highly offensive. I think we're all in pursuit of ways to improve our enjoyment of the crafts of knitting and spinning, and I'm always eager to learn a skill that will improve my techniques, but I understand that there are many ways to skin a cat, and from reading your blog, it seems to me that you believe that your way is the only 'right' way. It's very off-putting.

Chingachgook said...

By gum, Aaron, I think you've got something there!

Anonymous said...

Are you really asserting that worsted-style spinning is not taught in modern spinning classes? Because that would be false. Most of the materials I've seen directed at beginning spinners (videos, books, class pamphlets, etc.) not only address both techniques, they recommend worsted style spinning for beginners.

Aaron said...

The spinning techniques for spinning with a DRS of 1.2 (slip required) do not work with a DRS of less than 1.07 (no slip allowed). This applies to both worsted and woolen spinning.

Likewise spinning techniques suitable for a DRS of less than 1.07 do not work on flyer bobbin assemblies with a DRS of ~1.2.

Different tools require different techniques and different techniques require different tools.

With slippage, retarding the take up of the yarn is required to accumulate twist. With a no slip system, retarding take up results in break off. The drafting requirements of the two systems are very different in ways that have nothing to do with whether the yarn is woolen or worsted.

Aaron said...

The concept was clearly stated as commercial practice in Amos.

I just had note that there was space to do it on my wheel, and do it. Actually, I had wondered why flyer axles were so long.

: )

Chingachgook said...


AA has, over the years, said and printed much information that has been explored by some, adopted by some, and decried by some.

I too have read and reread the Big Book, but seeing you actually use those concepts brings me more understanding.

And the flyer axles on my Wee Peg and 1948-50 Norwegian wheel have no extra length. Some builders only repeat what has been done before.

I anticipate reading more from you, on whatever, and whenever. I'm in the fan club. The positive one.

Aaron said...


I think I was very lucky in that I asked AA for small flyers for my Ashford. (At one time, one of his standard products.) If he had built a custom wheel for those small flyers, there likely would not have been space for gang-whorls. Certainly the big Ashford flyers do not leave space for gang whorls. I would not have seen this if I had stayed with Ashford flyers or had AA build me a wheel from scratch.