Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spinning Faster...

I'm spinning so fast, it's making me dizzy :)

No, not really, but...

I remember when I bought my first wheel, a Lendrum DT, my DH offered to "put a motor on that thing". I gave him a look and told him that he was missing the point of spinning.

Someone once likened spinning to the "new Yoga". Well, I have to agree. Spinning for pleasure is meditative and relaxing, as any spinner can tell you.

However, every June I have the job of turning a trailer full of fleece into dollars. Most of the farm's harvest gets taken to the mill to turn into rovings, batts, yarn or felt. However, those special 'best' fleeces or the odd-ball colour\grade fleeces are washed, carded and spun by yours truly for sale as skeins or garments.

I had been half-heartedly looking at the Roberta on the internet. An Ertoel Roberta promised more consistent yarn in a faster rate while saving my ankle joints from treadling.
But, I didn't know anyone who actually used one and the new sticker price was beyond my current gambling limit.

Then about a year and a half ago, I had the great luck to hear about someone in my region selling an electronic spinning wheel. It turned out to be an Ertoel Roberta.

And the price tag on a used one was worth the gamble. Especially, if I could process more fibre at home rather than paying mill processing costs (I can justify any expense :)).

Well, even though it has taken me a year and a half of 1) findling around with it 2) getting frustrated with it 3) swearing at it and 4) staring at it for Roberta and I have finally bonded. It took some adjustments and oiling, and use to both wear it in and get comfortable with it.

The on\off switch and the speed control are hand knobs on the front of the unit. This is a bit awkward when you start out. I was going to either get a pause-switch foot pedal or have DH make one, but it never got done. Now that I'm used to it, I don't think I actually need one.

I used some Polworth from my old stash to test drive her. It ended up quite overtwisted, but I'll use it for some spare mitts.

Then, I started spinning some of my 70% alpaca\30% merino rovings. Since I don't have a 3rd bobbin for plying on my Roberta, I plied on my Lendrum.

I'm really happy with the result. It's very consistent and wasn't overspun.

I'm starting another batch of the same yarn and I'm going to track my time this round.


Azure Islands Designs said...

The Ertoel Roberta is certainly different from your it as relaxing for you as your wheel? I suppose if you can spin more, faster it is worth it to is a good thing most of the time.


Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Actually, it was a pleasant surprise that (once I conquered the thing) it is still meditative. I guess just the act of passing it through your hands and keeping your focus on it is relaxing. And really, I can do it longer than if I'm peddlin' to beat the band.

marj. said...

Hey Norma, looks good and fast and fun now that the *@L$@*#@! is hopefully done! Question: does this still qualify as handspun, can't be millspun but if you don't get a calf workout does it still count?

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

It's definitely handspun (not foot powered) but all the principles still apply and the hands still control the outcome.

BTW - the $##%@L@#! still applies once in a while...just like treadle-spinning...if you hit a poor spot in the rovings and it keeps breaking on you!