Thursday, August 28, 2014


Last night's guild meeting sorta became a celebration of Spinzilla.

This morning as I flip thorough some of the material, I have some comments.

At there is a discussion by Stephanie Flynn Sokolov on whorls.  However, she neglects to mention that as the whorl size gets smaller, it is more likely to slip against the drive band resulting in less speed of the flyer/bobbin assembly. I suggest a bit of drive band dressing will do more to give you more speed.  There is a recipe in Alden Amos.  It works.  It can double your spinning speed.  Get the powdered rosin from a sporting goods store - it is cheap.  Get a very small amount of turpentine from artist supply store (unless you use it on a regular basis),

Make some.  I put mine in the little 2 oz plastic containers that the local burrito place uses to package salsa. One of  Alden's recipes will make 5 or 6 cakes and a cake will last a busy spinner a long, long time.  The only excuse for not doing this is if you use plastic drive bands.  Otherwise have a project day at the spinning guild and make everybody a 1/2 oz cake of drive band dressing.  A dab will do ya!

Double drive is likely to be fractionally faster than any single drive wheel.  Modern DD wheels are made with a DRS that is about right for 1,600 ypp woolen, and that is likely to be the fastest yarn to produce.  Most (wheel) spinning contest winners end up producing ~1,600 ypp woolen,  For Spinzilla that means you will need a lot of fiber and will end up with a lot of worsted weight, 2-ply knitting yarns.  Not a bad thing if you like such yarns. 

Spinzilla is biased against spinners that produce fine yarns.  1,600 ypp woolen needs about 4 tpi, and 5,600 ypp worsted needs about 9 tpi, so somebody spinning the finer single must insert more than twice as much twist per inch as they make yarn.  That means that spinner doing lace weight either needs to treadle twice as fast, or work twice as long or have twice as fast a wheel.  And usually faster wheels have smaller whorls with less swept area resulting in more drive band slippage.   

You can reduce drive band slippage by increasing drive band tension, but that puts more stress on the bearings, increasing treadle effort.  It also means that you drive band will fail more frequently.  If you are going to be running at high drive band tension, have a spare drive band standing by, ready to go. 
Sara Lamb at   talks about spinning @ 2,000 ypp and it takes her 6.5 hours to spin a pound for a pace of just over 300 yards per hour which means she was inserting twist at ~800 rpm. Twist for 2,000 ypp is about 4.4 tpi.  

That likely sets standard for typical spinning pace, that is more realistic than the 90 yards in 15 minutes at SOAR  spinning competitions. For various reasons, I do not think spindle spinners will be competitive.  If there were divisions for finer yarns, it would be a different story.

Jacey Boggs says she finds thinner spinning faster, and likes the fact that bobbins do not fill as fast, but does not address the issue of finer singles requiring more twist. The truth is that fine yarns require a lot more twist, and twist is effort, and that effort has to come from somewhere.

Stephenie Gaustad recommends long draw woolen at low grist. 

Ergonomic factors will likely limit total spinning to around 8 hours per day, so even very dedicated spinners will likely spin no more than 50 hours for a total production on the order of 15,000 yards, call it 26 hanks. And, if you are spinning 1,600 ypp woolen, you will use almost 10 pounds of fiber.


Anonymous said...

Did you share your thoughts with the guild? I think that's one of the most important functions of a guild - the exchange of ideas.

Aaron said...

The local guilds (CNCH) are well aware of my passion for 5 and 10-ply sport weight yarns, and they know I like to spin fast, and faster.

This was the first time the local guild had seen the new 50 mm flier whorls and the bobbins of 40s (worsted 44 m/gram) that I have been producing from long wool as a study in warp for shirting.

They look, but nobody else in the guild wants to put in the effort to spin that fine.