Maybe not frog hair, but getting there

After watching the videos I approached my wheel with some Shetland top that I had dyed in last summer's flowers and combed into nests. "Finer," I thought. So finer I drafted, and "snap" went the yarn. I had already adjusted my Louet S90 so that the brake band was flapping in the wind, which is the only control the Irish tensioned wheel has for takeup. I tried again, and snapped the yarn two or three more times. It turns out that spinning finer is not simply an act of the will.

I understand that this wheel that I've inherited was designed chiefly for art yarns, so I wondered if fine yarn is not simply outside the capability of the wheel. Having noticed that the takeup is somewhat less severe when a bobbin is partly filled, I considered winding on some yarn. I considered using some Romney or Lincoln wool that I have, which would be stronger and longer. 

Then I remembered that the bobbins for the original flyer are thicker cored than the Woollee Winder bobbins I am used to using. Couldn't hurt to try...and it turned out to be the perfect solution. A bit of research led me to the concept of cross-lacing the flyer, which takes enough tension off the fibre that I can draft it quite fine and hold it long enough to twist it into yarn.

It's like having a new wheel--very exciting!

I realized that I have been having difficulty allowing twist into my drafting zone because I tend to hold the supply out at an angle from the control hand, something like 80'. By bringing my hands into a line with the orifice I was better able to draft against the twist. (My habitual position allows a lot of room in my lap for a cat, but may not produce the results I want.)

The fuzzy yarn in the project photo is yellow combing waste with indigo Shetland, recombed together. 

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Above is a shot of the sweerie box I improvised from a box we had sitting idle. I have a ball winder that fits a toilet paper core, so I wind everything off onto them. The core fits neatly over a large spool of sewing thread, which acts as a spacer on the knitting needle rod of the sweerie box.

Below is the yellow on its own, and at the bottom a beauty shot on the niddy noddy of some Jamieson and Smith Shetland supreme.

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