Sunday, July 06, 2008

Butterfly in da howse!

My Womack Butterfly electric spinner is now out of its box and situated in its rightful place on my coffee table, next to the couch:

Now I can actually lay on the couch and spin while I watch tv! How great is that? Can I get any lazier? ;-)

So, let me introduce you to my Butterfly.

Here is the motor end of the device, covered in a cute woven material:

Those buttons on top, front to back, are: the on/off switch, the speed dial, the clockwise/counter-clockwise switch, and the fuse.

The drive band connected to the rotor on the front is a stretchy clear plastic, much like what you find on a Lendrum wheel.

The flyer is a WooLee Winder:

which is probably the most ingenious invention to hit yarn-making since the spinning wheel. I highly recommend it. Basically, it allows one to continually spin and draft without having to stop and change hooks. It also allows more yarn on the bobbin, because it fills it so evenly. And the best thing about this particular WooLee Winder is that it and its bobbins will fit both Ashford and Lendrum wheels, and should I choose to go with either of those makers if/when I eventually get a wheel, I can use it interchangeably. Nice.

Right now I'm getting used to it by practicing with some plain white corriedale. I've found that, for me, right now, low speed, low tension, and spinning from the fold seems to work best to make the smoothest yarn. Not sure why that is -- I'd really prefer to spin from the end of the roving like I can when I'm spindle-spinning. But with the electric spinner, (and I think this is also true for me with wheels), I seem to get more neps and slubs when I spin from the end of the roving/top. Seems counter-intuitive, but somehow it's smoother, spinning from the fold. So, I have more stops and starts, feeding in new fiber to old more often, but the end result is better.

If you'd like to see videos of a Butterfly in motion, Northern Virginia knitter KSee has blogged about it here, including sharing two videos. The spinner really is that quiet, which is how it got its name -- quiet as a butterfly.

Back in March when I was attending the spinning retreat up in Wisconsin, I picked up a couple of pretty orifice hooks being sold by one of the talented and crafty ladies in attendance. So yesterday, when I realized that I would need an orifice hook for my new e-spinner, I remembered that I had the perfect one:

How cool is that?! If I had planned on finding a butterfly orifice hook to "match" my Butterfly spinner, I never would have found one. Gotta love how things work out.

I expect I'll get lots more practice with my e-spinner during the rest of this month. I've unofficially joined the Tour de Fleece challenge:

which basically just requires that you spin every day during the Tour de France. I'm "riding" for Team Rookie and going for the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey).

And once I feel comfortable spinning that white Corriedale, I'm switching to one of my pretty hand-dyed rovings.

Should be fun!


Bess said...

Wee! Loved this post and love the photos. Love the idea of lying down to spin. You may find that a wheel has now become, sigh, just too much trouble.

I, too, found spinning from the fold much easier than from the end when I was starting out. It also creates a different color pattern when you use blended dyed top - I think it creates a prettier one.

Happy spinning to you!!

jane said...

I love hearing about your new butterfly! Good luck spinning every day! Jane

Channon said...

Love the photos, especially of the basketweave cover over the electric parts. Nice touch.

Can't wait to see more!

emmy said...

What a fun way to spin! I cannot wait to see more!!

Firefly Nights said...

The butterfly on the orifice hook must have been a sign that you were going to get this spinning machine. I'm glad you finally found something you like. I think you made a good choice.