Sunday, July 13, 2014

Commerical Rates

The theme of the last year has been, "How fast could a professional spinner in the 17th century spin?"

My answer at this time is about 30 hanks (of 560 yd) per week of 10s (5,600 ypp), or 10 hanks per week of fines (finer than 30,000 ypp).  This assumes steel against bronze or steel against wood bearings (either with lard oil) .  And, it assumes small flyer/bobbin assemblies with accelerators.

Here are my tools for spinning good yarn at a commercial rate under the apricot tree.

And, a closeup of the ~2 pounds of  sport weight 5-ply produced in ~4 days of spinning:

Note that I use an arm chair for spinning. With DRS, I do not have to wave my arms around.  And, if you are waving your arms around, you cannot spin fines.   I know that Northern Lace does sometimes spin 30,000 ypp singles using long draw, but it is done as a tour de force rather than as a routine.

The new 50 mm whorl for 17 to 20 tpi has been dialed in, and it allows me to spin 5 or 6 yards per minute   of yarns in the range 22,000 to 33,000 ypp.  It is a "kick"!  A hank of  40s only weighs ~10 grams, so I can put the whole hank on a small spinning bobbin.  This saves 10 minutes per hank.  In theory, it will allow more than 2 hanks of 60s per day, but I have not achieved that.

 It is something I was told could not be done.  My practical speed is much greater than the theoretical speed of mass produced lace kits, and I never even come close to the theoretical speed of the Ashford lace kit.  DRS provides productivity that is simply not possible with a single driveband, or double driveband with slippage.

I have been told that I spin thick and thin. Of course, when I am spinning 30,000 ypp and it does not drift apart or break off, the difference in between the thick and thin sections is not very great. I challange my critics to spin 560 yards of worsted single that only weighs 7.5 grams.  When they can do that, then they can talk about my thick and thin.  It is not a big deal, at a relaxed pace, it is less than 3 hours of spinning.


Anonymous said...

You've been right all along; I can't produce yarn that looks like that on my (unadulterated) wheel at any speed.

Aaron said...

The yarn is not beautiful, but knit on 2mm DPN the fabric works very well.

I would not call the fabric beautiful, but it has a certain Aran charm, and it is the softest weatherproof fabric I have ever knit. As knit, the thick and thin is not really noticeable. It does NOT look like the nice consistent worsted swatches that I sampled early on. That has a different look, feel, and drape. And, fabric knit up from the consistent yarn is not as weatherproof. I am going to say that again: The fabric knit up from the consistent yarn is not as weatherproof.

I believe in : Make it work, then make it pretty. I am still at the "Make It Work stage".

The yarns that were consistent and pretty did not work as well. This says that if we are interested in good fabrics, then perhaps we are judging yarns on the wrong parameters.

At some point, warm fabrics are a virtue not to be scorned.

I find that the fabric is much more durable than the fabrics knit up from cabled mill spun warp yarns. The mill spun stuff is pretty but it does not stand up to abuse as well as the 5-ply long wool. And, the 10-stand cabled mill spun is not as warm over all as the 5-ply long wool hand spun. It is prettier, but it is not as warm.

All in all, I am going to knit myself a good gansey, and I am not going to let some vision of perfection stop me.

Looking at some spinning competitions, it seems that many modern spindles are faster than many modern wheels. Try a spindle. No, better yet, try a spindle and a deadline - as in you have 2.5 lb of fiber and must have a good weatherproof gansey within a fortnight. 54 hours of spinning and 90 hours of knitting - it can be done - it won't be pretty, but it can be done.