Monday, November 24, 2014

The Balloon

If the yarn being spun is not under tension, it will "blow" out of the hecks on the flyer.

This is a matter of centripetal forces rather than aerodynamic forces.

It is not a problem with Scotch tension, and not much of a problem with Irish tension.

However, with DRS, if one drafts faster than than the yarn is being wound on the bobbin, then there will be slack in the yarn between the drafting triangle and the bobbin.  If one is spinning slowly, and working a good distance from the orifice, then the yarn may hang slack between the drafting triangle and the orifice. Onlookers accustomed to other spinning systems will be surprised.

At higher speed, the slack yarn will be pulled out of the flyer hecks and balloon  around the flyer.  This is only visible with a strobe.  In normal light, it looks like Scotch Tension with taut yarn between the drafting triangle and the orifice. In practice, it is very different because with DRS the yarn only winds on as the proper amount twist is inserted whereas with ST the yarn can wind on regardless of the twist.

On the other hand, DRS  wind-on can easily  generate enough tension to break off the yarn. With DRS, if one pauses drafting while the flyer/bobbin assembly is turning, the yarn will break off.  This can be frustrating to the point of tears, particularly as the spinner first begins to work rapidly.

However, at higher speed, one can draft, and store an extra foot or so of yarn as a balloon flying around the flyer.  This gives the yarn extra time to level and settle before being wound onto the bobbin. This yarn will be wound as the proper twist is inserted.   It also puts some slack in the system so that break off is not instantaneous if there is a pause in the drafting. At my current spinning speed of ~7 yd/minute, this gives me 2 or 3 seconds to fix a problem in the yarn.  At slower spinning speeds the balloon of  yarn around the flyer is less well formed, and more likely to tangle with the other arm of the flyer, bringing everything to a catastrophic stop.

With DRS, spinning faster may allow spinning some recalcitrant fleeces with fewer tears.


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

7 yards per minute? That must be a typo. You claim to be spinning faster than pretty much every other spinner out there (including experienced, respected spinning teachers). 7 yards per minute would be in the low to medium speed range for an accomplished spinner with a factory spec wheel. Surely with all the modifications you've made to your wheel in the name of speed, you're spinning faster than that? Otherwise you've butchered that poor wheel for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Aaron, it never fails to amaze me how you can take a relatively simple activity such as spinning, and turn it into an unpleasantly complex process. Not only that, but you declaim the obvious as though you are the first person to discover spinning techniques which have long been known to the rest of us. If what you've done to jack up your wheel was commonplace in "ye olden days," there would be abundant evidence of it in artwork and texts. There isn't.

"Hecks" are not part of a spinning wheel. There are no "balloons" associated with spinning, either, nor are strobe lights required. You, sir, are full of twaddle. I do hope you continue to enjoy the rubbernecking, since every post you write provides more fodder for hilarity.

Anonymous said...

Your single should not be "ballooning"; that's a negative side effect of the (unnecessary) modifications you've made to your wheel. I suspect you know that, but since you don't know how to fix it and/or can't admit that your design improvements aren't improvements after all, you're trying to pass it off as a good thing (but it's not).

And for the love of Bob, just call them hooks. Using a regional(no longer in use) term from another country makes you sound like an idiot. Have you never heard of cultural appropriation?

Anonymous said...

Pfft, the singles doesn't need to 'settle' as you spin; that's hogwash. But if you won't let go of that absurd idea, why not get just get a Great Wheel? It would allow you to spin further from the orifice without modifications.

Aaron said...

7 yards per minute can be done by anybody on any wheel if you are spinning fat, low twist yarn.

Spinning lace weight (5,600 ypp) woolen is another matter.

Aaron said...

So, now we invoke quantum mechanics for wool fibers and assert that wool fibers interlock instantly - at the speed of light? Or even faster?

I think not. You may not have thought about it, but yarn formation is a mechanical process that takes time - likely in the range of a couple of seconds. Certainly the process goes on as the yarn sits on the bobbin and as it is rewound and handled.

However, I get better yarn by having more distance between the drafting triangle and the orifice.

I offer the idea. You can do what you want.

Aaron said...

All the spinning wheel makers that I know call them "hecks".

My deduction then is that "Anonymous" is not a wheel maker. Certainly, Anonymous, restates a conventional wisdom that I have been told by real wheel makers. Which raises the question, "Is it true?"

We go back to the Victorian texts and ask, "Why did they use ballons of yarn between the attenuation rollers and the spindles?" Is there something we can learn from the physics of the Victorian spinning frames?

There several points that jump out at us.
1) The balloons store a small amount of yarn between the attenuation rollers and the spindle so that minor variations in either process do not break the yarn. 2) The balloons allow the fibers in the yarn to rub together under gentle pressure so the fibers can conform and grip each other. 3) Centripetal force from the yarn balloon provides a uniform and consistent tension drawing additional yarn into the balloon.

These functions are not particularly useful when spinning Scotch Tension, but have virtues when spinning with DRS.

If you are spinning Scotch tension, you do not need a yarn balloon around your flyer. But then you will be spinning so slowly that a yarn balloon around your flyer will tangle on the other arm of the flyer with catastrophic results. Hence the conventional wisdom from wheel makers selling ST systems.

You need a flyer speed of more than
3,000 rpm to sustain a yarn balloon. Even on systems that spin that fast, the yarn balloon needs to be collapsed before the system slows below 3,000 rpm.

Emma in France said...

Exactly which spinning wheel makers do you know? Because Schacht refers to them as flyer hooks:

http://schachtspindle.com/our_products/matchless_parts_new.php

Ashford refer to them as flyer hooks:

http://www.ashford.co.nz/newsite/spinning-wheels/33/accessories/maintenance-kit/moredetail.html

Carson Cooper - flyer hooks:

http://www.ztwist.com/Reproduction_Flyers.htm

Baynes - flyer hook

Babe's - http://www.babesfibergarden.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96:wheel-parts&catid=38:bfgassembly&Itemid=63

Lou√ęt - Hooks

http://www.louet.com/category/Flyers/Flyers

Even Alden Amos uses hooks throughout his Big Blue Book and the term heck only appears in the glossary.

What is more, every spinning instruction book that I have read (and that is many), from Mabel Ross to Judith MacKenzie uses the term flyer hook.

Aaron said...

In the books, they are writing for people who do not understand the terminology. They may write "hecks" and the editor changes it to "hooks"

Go into their workshops, and talk to them without an editor to translate.

They will use the correct words for the different parts of a spinning wheel. Heck is in the glossary because it is a good and useful word. Alden would not waste space in his book on a word that was not useful.

purplespirit1 said...

Why are you so hard-set on only Alden as a source? A lot of the info in his writings are dated. "Hooks" and "hecks" may be have been interchangeable at one point but clearly not any more in modern usage. You're making sh!t up again. As someone pointed out in several references, you seem to be the only one insistent on using the term 'heck'.

Christ In Me said...

I'm very interested in your speed spinning, Aaron. I too find that the more distance I put between the fiber being drafted & the flyer, the more even my spinning is. But I don't even come close to your speed!. I would love to spin faster. Do you always use Rolags? I have not done that, usually spinning worsted from roving. I only spin woolen from combed locks, prepared as I go. I can see how the roads would make a very long draw go faster. I also need to study your knitting sheaths. It is hard to see from the videos. Is the needle supported by the sheath longer than the others? I need to know more! My wheel (both scotch tension & double drive) canbe upgraded to a high speed kit. I'm so excited to SE that it might be possible to utilize one.

Aaron said...


Combing wool is more effort and produces more waste than carding. Thus, while one can spin woolen using combed wool, carding is a better prep for woolen.

For spinning worsted weight singles (1,800 ypp / 4 tpi) one can spin very fast (8 yd/ min) with a standard wheel that spins just under 1,000 rpm.

If you want to spin lace weight (5,600 ypp, 9 tpi for worsted / 12 tpi for woolen) at 8 yd/ min then you will need a faster wheel. Get a tachometer and see how fast your wheel is actually going.

I do find rolags better for woolen spinning.

Aaron said...

I use Alden as a source because he is still in print, AND he gets more correct and has fewer errors than any other author on the topic.

His is the ONLY book on spinning in which I have not found a major error.

Sometimes he generalizes more than I would like, but he is always, always close enough to produce excellent hand spinning.