Friday, September 20, 2013

Irish Tension

When I started spinning, I started with an Ashford Traddy because I knew it would be easy to work on and adapt.

As I got to be a better spinner, and was spinning finer, the Traddy was slow with somewhere around 800 usable rpm. If I was doing singles for 2-ply worsted weight yarn, that would be about as fast as any beginner  can draft.  However, my goal was 5-ply and I wanted 5,600 ypp singles.  Producing 5-ply on a stock Traddy was slow going.

I took a long and meandering path to more speed, and a lot people said very rude things and called me every kind of stupid. I went through the whole double drive with differential rotation speed, and everyone called me a bunch of rude names, but the technology works, is fast, and produces beautiful yarn.

Tonight, the Alden Amos competition flier is on the wheel in Irish tension mode. It delivers a full 3,500 rpm and will easily spin 30,000 ypp singles. If those folks calling me names had wanted to be helpful, they could have just said, "Get a smaller flier with less windage!",  so we know they were not trying to be helpful, they were just being boss cows.

So, I am going to say it, fine yarns want smaller fliers with less windage.  (And get high speed dynamically balanced fliers while you are at it.")

Am I sorry I went to the trouble to learn DRS and make all those gang fliers?  No!  DRS controlled spinning really does produce better singles. When, I am sampling, I may not bother with the DRS, but when I need pretty yarn, I get out the DRS gear.

However, for very fine yarns (above spin count), I now use a quill mounted in the Traddy.  I do not like the Ashford quill, so I had to make my own. It is better than a great wheel, or a supported spindle because it is hands free, so both hands can draft. It is better than a spindle because it can give me sustained 3,500 rpm. It is better than Irish tension because twist can be inserted at almost zero tension. And ,  DRS systems for very fine yarns take some effort to make up and get right.

The bottom line is that DRS is a very powerful technology for someone that needs to produce a lot of very uniform singles, but it may not be worth while for everybody.  In particular, spinning wheels with small fliers may not get as much advantage from DD.  And, setting DRS up on many wheels is more difficult than for a Traddy.

1 comment:

Kathe Lewis said...

Hi Aaron,
Pray tell what is DRS? I am a bit confused, not understanding your abbreviations.
I am spinning on an electric scottish tension wheel with super adjustable tension (I built it)
Kathe, Denmark