Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Party Tricks with Spinning Wheels

So, loyal readers will know I spin on a wheel (I own two), and on a drop spindle (I own several). But I've found that once I have fiber spun on a drop spindle, it's hard to get it prepared for plying. There is no device that makes it easy to hold a drop spindle and ply from it or from several.

One technique I've tried is winding the spun fiber onto a core (an empty toilet paper roll, if you must know). However, it's not that easy to ply from. Since I think it's sometimes easier to spin using a lazy kate (built to hold bobbins), I decided I'd try to wind from my spindle onto a bobbin. So I configured my Ashford Traditional double-drive to spin the bobbin but not the flyer.

To do this, the double-drive band must be placed around the bobbin only. For spinning one band is placed around the bobbin and one band around the whorl, so the bobbin and the flyer both spin. But, with the band only around the bobbin, the flyer doesn't move. See, in the photo the flyer is the wood with the hooks in it - like arms. You can see the drive band - it is the pink band horizontal in the picture. The whorl is the piece with the two grooves, in the center of the photo. It is slightly darker wood than the bobbin.

Here's the technique:
1. I put the empty bobbin in place.
2. I placed the band around the bobbin
3. I attached the thread I'd spun on the drop spindle, to the leader on the bobbin.
4. I started treadling, clockwise
5. Continued treadling and winding onto the bobbin until all the fiber was off the spindle.

Simple as that. The flyer never moved so it didn't get in the way as the thread wound onto the bobbin. I found it was somewhat difficult to hold the spindle in place and let it spin as the fiber wound off, but I managed it with a little finesse.

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