Monday, January 26, 2015

Power 2

When I started spinning, one teacher loved drop spindles that would spin for a long time.  My first drop spindles were designed in this school of thought.  And, I would still say that a CD on a dowel is a good drop spindle for teaching spinning to kids.

However, rotation is twist, and spinning is about converting rotation in the spindle into twist in the yarn. If the rotation stays in the spindle, then twist is not going into the yarn.  A drop spindle that spins for a long time is making yarn slowly.

I like a spindle that makes yarn quickly.  That is, I like a spindle that spins fast, and quickly transfers its rotational energy to the yarn. Such a spindle is faster than almost any modern wheel.

I like  small diameter, dense whorls, and/or whorls that can be taken off to let the copp act as the whorl.

And for woolen, where you can thigh rolls with one hand as you draft long draw with the other, and then wind on with  reverse thigh rolls. a spindle can be wicked fast.  A spindle with a 2.25 mm thick shaft powered by a thigh roll against a heavy leather apron, with a little rosin can spin woolen yarn at very close to the speed offered by Alden Amos for an active spinner with a common great wheel (without a miner head). However, this is a lot of not very ergonomic work.

Better is a Charkha.  Most folk these days do not use a Charkha for wool because the low grist wool singles that most spin does not need or want as much twist as a Charkha will supply. If you need to put a lot of twist in a fine woolen yarn, a Charkha is a very reasonable option.  And they are not in fashion now, so they are reasonably priced.

On the other hand, while a Charkha is fast, making a lot of fine yarn takes a lot of twist which is energy that must come from one arm.  I think that a double treadle wheel is better because it allows both legs to deliver energy.


Casey said...

Since when are spinning quickly and spinning for a long time mutually exclusive in spindles?

Aaron said...

The speed of my wheel defines "spinning quickly". I cannot spin at that pace with a spindle for very long.

If you spin at that pace, I assure you that your will also soon get tired.

It has been 400 years since a competent professional spinner with a spindle could keep up with a competent professional spinner with a wheel.

I am well aware that many modern wheels are not as fast as a spindle, but that is a failure for the wheel spinners to fully understand and use the wheel to its fullest potential.

Holin Kennen said...

Many teachers start their students on drop spindles SO THAT THEY CAN LEARN TO MAKE PROPER YARN SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY BEFORE THEY ADVANCE TO THE SPEED OF A WHEEL. Clearly, you were not paying attention to your teacher and, instead you bought a wheel and made it go faster than it was designed. All with the predictable result: shoddy yarn. Back to basics, Aaron. Back to basics.

Aaron said...

The design of the flyer/bobbin was well fixed in the 15th century. Treadles go back hundreds of years earlier.

I did not realize that you were old enough to have been there, and watched and understood the design process. Flyer/bobbin assemblies were designed by professional spinners working in a industrial environment to spin industrial quantities of yarn.

Professional spinners were expected to spin at "commercial rates" which were much faster than the rate at which I spin.

You are fixated on slow. You think anything done quickly is bad - well except for transportation, internet, and modern stoves.

I knit every kind of yarn. Then, I went looking for better yarn.

Making yarn slowly does not make it better, it only makes it slower. Or, spinning slowly may mean that one does not have the skills to spin quickly. Or, spinning slowly may be a conspicuous consumption of resources as a display of status.
E.g., Your customers may like to brag that the yarn they buy from you was expensive because it was SLOWLY hand spun.

No, better yarn is better because it meets specific quality criteria based on the specific quality criteria of the finished object. Yarn can not be evaluated except in the context of the finished object. The finished object must have a basis of design. That basis of design my be a status display (worn to tea with the ladies) or the basis of design may be to keep a seaman warm while he works above deck in the storm to repair rigging.

My basis of design is functional garments that are warm and durable. Yours seems to be garments that can be worn as a status display when having tea with the ladies.

I spin fast because I want better yarn, quickly. I make better yarn fast as I can. An inch of my hand spun Guernsey yarn will have a total of 50 twists per inch between the singles and the plying. All that twist makes a yarn that is warm and durable. Making 5-plies plus a plying pass through the wheel means that if I work 3-times as fast as you do, my yarn takes twice as long to make. The bottom line is that it takes me much longer to make one of my finished yarns than it takes you to make one of your finished yarns.

And "shoddy" has a precise definition in the textile world that does not apply to my yarns. Your misuse of the word is typical of your lack of knowledge of textile traditions and industry.