I got a new toy a few weeks ago. It’s called a Spin Tech. It’s an electric spinner.
I have not wanted an electric spinner because of the way I spin. I’m more of a Rita Buchanan Style spinner than a Judith McKenzie style spinner. What I mean by that is I don’t change whorls very often. I have a couple of ratios that work for me and I stick with them mostly. Really I like to spin a little fast and so the fastest whorl is what is on the wheel I am using at the time. Judith likes to change her wheel to match the yarn she wants to spin. Rita likes to change what her hands and feet do to make changes to the yarn.
I’ll explain further: I spin in a rhythm. My hands and feet move in unison. So, If I am spinning a fine yarn and spinning short forward draw, I may need two to three treadles per draft depending on the whorl size. If I stay on that whorl and want to spin singles for socks or something a little thicker I may need only one draft per treadle. All of this depends on the wheel that I am spinning on, of course. My Matchless has a top speed of 22:1, the Schacht Reeves 30″ has a top speed of 38.5:1 and the Watson Martha has a top speed of 47:1. So to make the same yarn on all of these wheels requires that I change the ratio of draft to treadle. (Of course it’s better to make the whole project on one wheel to help with consistency.)
In addition to all of this, there are times when I slow down a little. Like when I want to add in a new bit of fiber, or if a lump goes by that I want to fix, or if there is a bit of hay in there that needs to be flicked out. I slow my feet down, fix the thing and get back up to speed.
You are probably asking what does all of this have to do with an electric spinner?
Let me tell you. Every electric spinner I had tried offered only on or off. Of course you could turn the knob to slower or faster but I didn’t find the speed controls easy to manage with my hands while spinning at higher speeds. (Babe does make one but I haven’t tried it.) I wanted something with a control like on my sewing machines. Slow down to go around that corner and speed up when heading in a straight line just by changing your foot pressure.
Here is a YouTube Video full of spinning tips. I don’t talk about the rhythm here but you can see what I’m doing…maybe it’s time for another video!
Then, it was there, in the used tools section of Ravelry! A Spin Tech for sale! I had never seen one in person but had heard of their magical powers so I thought I’d try her out and knew I could always resell the thing if it turned out not to be what I wanted.
I’m in love with the thing! It is fast. Don’t ask me how fast but I can tell it is a bit faster than my Martha. It has variable speeds, has a little stopper on the peddle so you can keep the highest speed the same throughout a project. Comes in a handy case that fits everything; spinner, 6 bobbins, foot peddle, plying posts.
There’s only one draw back. It is not quiet. Several other makers are making whisper quiet e-spinners. This is not the one. I can’t spin in the same room while the family is watching TV.
Oh, also, nobody makes this machine anymore. Mine is number 67. I don’t know how many were made but I know they were in the $1000 area when they were in production.
It comes in a little suitcasewith room for the spinner and all the accessories.
It also come with three posts that screw into the case to act as a lazy kate.
I can’t wait to try spinning cotton on it like Rita Buchanan does! Currently I am in the midst of a cashmere project.
This may bring up some questions about how I will convert my spinning technique to this machine that has no treadles to move in time with. Well, there is still a rhythm to it if I am going at full speed there is one rhythm and slowing down will bring another rhythm. There is some transitional time and some practice that will go into this and I expect that my twist with this machine may not be as even as with my wheel for a time. But I will practice and all will be well.
To even out twist when I am learning a new technique like this I like to rewind my bobbins onto another bobbin while there is a good bit of distance between the two. This allows the twist to move and even out so that after I ply the yarn has less puffed up and thick spots due to uneven twist.
I am so happy that this little spinner has come into my stable of spinning tools. I wonder if I should get rid of one of the others now…