Friday, November 01, 2013


The tool of choice for spinning the weft is the AA#1 fast flier with the big bobbin Alden supplied and the 1.05 DRS flier whorl that I made.  That whorl works best with a 2-handed drafting technique.  However, last night I wanted one hand free, so I used the stock flier whorl that Alden Amos supplied.  It has a DRS of 1.2. This DRS  (with drive band slip), works much, much better for one-handed long draw.

That flier/bobbin setup and long draw is a more pleasant way to spin than my normal rig. I admit it.   If I was just spinning as a pastime, I would use the flier/bobbin set as it come out of the box from Alden Amos. My whorl turns hand spinning into real work.

However, I spin because I want the yarn.   I am willing to work so that I get yarn faster.

With the AA stock rig,  my no-load bobbin speed was the same as always.  However, under load, the speed dropped to about half of the speed that I get with my DRS flier whorl. Both have ~ 20:1 drive-wheel to bobbin ratio. It turns out that the advertised drive-wheel to flier ratio means very little, because these ratios say nothing about how much drive band slip occurs.  What counts is actual flier/bobbin assembly speed. Actual flier/bobbin assembly speed can be easily determined with an inexpensive tachometer.  If you do not have a tachometer, you will not understand why you cannot spin as fine and as fast as I do.

If it takes me 70 hours to spin my weft with my DRS whorl,  it would take me ~140 hours to spin it with the stock Alden Amos High Speed  (#1) DD  Flyer. It would be a pleasant 140 hours, but I want my yarn faster. Then the AA HSF is ~15% faster than my Ashford  (ST) lace flyer, so it would take me 160 hours to spin this project on the  Ashford lace flyer, more than 200 hours to spin it on the stock Ashford DD flyer/bobbin, and on the close order of 250 hours to spin it on my standard Ashford Scotch Tension flyer. This is not to say anything against Ashford, because I do not know of another wheel that would have been as easy to modify to increase its speed. (And, I did spin 5# of 5,600 ypp worsted singles on the stock Ashford DD flyer/bobbin Assembly.  That was 28,000 yd.  Then, I spun  a lot more as I started modifying the whorls.)

This little weaving project only  requires 25,000 yd of  (warp+weft).  Thus, on this one project alone, the modifications to my Traddy stand to save me ~ 130 hours.  A faster wheel allows me to do 3 projects in the time it would have taken me just to spin one project.  Tools matter.   Today, I see that if I am starting with a stock Ashford Traddy,  it will save me time in the long run to have a good fast wheel.  I understand that it is worth putting in a hundred hours to make my wheel run faster because I will make it up in one project.  I understand that it is worth the effort to make a faster drop spindle is worth while because I will make it up in one project.  On the other hand, I never let "perfect" be the enemy of good.  I seek better tools, not perfect tools.

If I had started with an Louet or Majacraft  wheel, I would not have the kind of speed that I have today because they are harder to modify and customize.  This is not "sour grapes, this is understanding the engineering and performance compromises inherent in such power transfer systems.

I have done these kinds of  studies before, but every time I calculate drive belt slip on typical modern spinning configurations, it is a little scary.

We made it past Halloween, so Happy All Souls Day!

1 comment:

RMD said...

Hi Aaron -
I've been following your trail to spinning fine. Just converted my old SD traddy to a high-speed DD and will need to adjust my techniques. Question for you: can I get even more speed by getting a balanced flyer from AA (with the stock whorls from Ashford)? I know you've made your own whorls and spin without slip, but am wondering if you see any advantage to a less custom setup?