Friday, November 22, 2013

SPINNING BASICS: Tools to Spin With: Spindles 2

I have to stop writing these when I'm not really awake (like now).

I intended to write more about spindles and hit send without thinking.

There are a lot of things that affect how fast/slow and how long/short a spindle spins.

As mentioned before, a thinner shaft makes for a quicker spin to start with. It makes sense, because if you snap it between your fingers, for instance, your fingers move at a certain speed, essentially, in a straight line. That movement is translated into a circular spin by rotating the shaft. The narrower the shaft, the further around the circumference you'll move the spindle with the same snap.

The bigger the measurement around the outside of the shaft, the slower you'll move it.

For instance, with a narrow shaft, a snap of the fingers might make the spindle go around twice. If the snap moves what's between your fingers one inch, but the shaft measures a half an inch around, you'll spin it twice. But if it measures a whole inch around, you'll only spin it one full revolution.

Another major factor in spin speed and length of spinning time is the whorl.

A small diameter whorl tends to spin faster than a wide diameter whorl.

But a small diameter whorl will lose it's speed and slow down faster than a wide diameter whorl, which will keep spinning, if more slowly.

You also have to take into account the weight, and where in the whorl it's distributed.

If most of the weight is close to the center, it will tend to spin faster than if most of the weight is toward the outside.

It's a balancing act as far as trading off speed for length of spin. If you're spinning lace yarn, for instance, you'll want a lot of spin, otherwise it'll take forever to get enough twist into the yarn/thread to hold together.

Other factors include the support point for a support spindle. You want the point that the spindle spins on to be as small as possible to generate the least friction. My Tibetan spindle has a brass point on the bottom that's fairly sharp specifically to lower friction when the spindle spins in the bowl.

The other factor is overall weight. The heavier the spindle overall, the more energy it takes to spin it, but the longer it will spin.

If you happen to be talking about a drop spindle, though, the weight of the spindle will make a big difference in the thickness of the yarn you can spin with it. If you try to spin a yarn that's too fine with a drop spindle that's too heavy, the yarn will keep breaking before it will get enough twist in it to be strong enough to hold the spindle's weight. But if your drop spindle is too light or you're trying to spin yarn that is too thick for the spindle, it will tend to make the spindle slow down quickly and stop. If you're not paying attention and try to let it spin, it will eventually (and fairly quickly) stop and begin to spin in the opposite direction, unspinning the yarn and falling.

The overall weight issue is complicated by the fact that, because you keep winding more and more yarn onto the spindle, it keeps increasing it's overall weight the longer you spin. So, if you're using it as a drop spindle, it may be too light when you first start, just right when it's half full, but too heavy when you finally give up and wind the yarn off onto something else to ply it.

This particular information is something that you may find a bit too much at this point, but is something to refer to if you have a problem with a particular spindle in the future.

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