Friday, March 28, 2008


I really like to put on an occasional warp of yarn that I have spun and weave it off. It is so completely different from the crackle journey I am on. But it has always taken so long for me to spin enough yarn for weaving that I have done very little weaving with it. And I am not willing to devote huge chunks of my time to spinning.


A year ago Christmas I was gifted with an electric spinning wheel. I had asked for it. I had been spinning for several years quite happily with my Ashford Traveller double drive. I did not know how I would like spinning with an electric wheel. So I asked for the cheapest one available.


The Babe I got was the cheapest one they make. I don't think they even make this particular model any more. Spinning on it was very different from spinning on my Ashford Traveller, even with the high speed-flyer. After awhile I got the hang of it and sort of enjoyed it. But after a few months I stopped using it. I just did not get to the point of its really being fun.


Then about a month before this Christmas I started spinning on it again. I decided I did not like the electronic foot controller so I purchased another one on an Ebay site. It worked better than the one that came with the electric wheel. I was happier. But still I was not totally happy. Nevertheless, I continued to spin on it.


Then one day I sat down to spin only to discover that the motor had died. I am sure it had not overheated and burned out. It just died. What to do? I am not at all mechanical. Just taking off the old foot controller and putting on a new one was nothing short of terrifying. Well, actually trying to find the right one was not exactly a walk in the park.


A couple of blocks from our house is a Singer sewing machine and also a vacuum cleaner dealer. He just happens to repair small motors. So I took the wheel in to him. Of course I had to explain. In less than 15 minutes he had put on a new motor. This motor, he said, was identical to the original.


I took it home. It spun the wrong way---counter clockwise instead of clockwise. I won't know go into my initial disappointment in not being able to set up this machine to ply........... So I took it back. It needed a reverse motor. He had to order it. Four days later I had my spinning machine back and started spinning.

It spun like I had a whole different electric wheel. It spun smoothly. It accelerated fairly gradually. And I had a great deal more control over the speed. So now my poor Ashford sits, not unused, but not used very much. At the moment I am spinning a very very fine merino on it, something that is taking me ages but which the electric wheel could not handle because the draw is too strong.


I am spinning some gorgeous fiber. That's it on my Babe electric at the top of the page. It is from Crosspatch Creations and is sold by The Bellwether. I have spun their stuff before and have woven with the resulting yarn and it has always turned out marvelously soft.

Now, with this electric wheel I realize that it is much more realistic for me to spin for weaving because I can spin so quickly. I just spun 4 ounces of fiber in less than a week without really trying. With the other wheel, it would take me a month, maybe longer to spin that much fiber. At least devoting the kind of time I am willing to devote to spinning.

I am so excited by this current project. I have another 4 ounces. And I see The Bellwether has a marvelous darkish green by Crosspatch Creations that would be perfect................ Ohh, I really want to put on a handspun warp after this next crackle project................. I've even cast my eye on some possible drawdowns...........

Related Post: Spinning for Weaving

1 comment:

bspinner said...

I've been spinning on an electric spinner for about five years and "LOVE" it. Like you I also have quite a few other wheels and use only one for demonstrations. The others should be cleaned up and sold. I don't know if you have a Woolie Winder on your electric spinner but you might want to think about getting one. It makes spinning so much more effecient.