Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A question of balance

The (relatively) newly retired DSM was mooching about. I was about to do some ironing. (This is irrelevant to the story, but such a momentous event that I feel I always need to blog about it.....)

I suggested that he continue with the rather large task of cataloguing our spindles whilst I did the aforementioned, so that I could supply all the information about them that I can remember. Which is at the moment a fair old bit, but how long will that situation last, I ask myself.

Anyway, he grew reflective, and commented on how difficult it was to arrive at a balance between doing things that he felt that he "ought" to do and things that he "wanted" to do.

After several minutes of wrestling with my conscience and managing not to throw the iron at him, I calmly pointed out that he had been hearing pretty much the same thing from me over the previous umpty years and that his response had always been "H'mm. Yes, dear."

I'm not going to say any more about that. Grimly.....

Anyhow, some of the spindles that we were looking at reminded me of this following little-considered issue. Have a look at these beauties.

It doesn't matter who the makers are, although you might recognise them. The issue isn't that these are not well-made spindles, but that they have a certain inherent problem. Look closely. The one on the left - so handsome. Spins very nicely - for a while. But because of the material it is made from - a seed pod, I believe - there are gaps and holes through it. Well, the air passes in and around those, and the effect is to slow the spin right down and stop it moving much sooner than I really like. I am quite sure that a physicist would be able to tell you exactly what is happening in terms of aerodynamics - I am just aware of the effect.

The pretty little one in the middle appears to have a bite out of it. It is a natural element in the wood, and a similar thing is seen in those lovely Bosworth Moosies sometimes, although for different reasons! Here, the effect is to unbalance the turn of the spindle, because it makes the weight distribution uneven. The spindle will tend to be slower, and to wobble quite a lot.

The third one has the same problem from a different cause. The gorgeous graining in the wood is sufficient to again cause an imbalance and a diminution in performance.

With the second two, it is possible to greatly improve that performance by manipulating the hook to compensate. I spent ages with the pliers, trying this angle and that angle until I arrived at one that seemed to give me the best spin. Worth it, to use such lovely spindles!

The first one, I have to be honest, and say that I have only used it once. I can't think of a way to improve the perfomance, and it has an additional problem in that the material is slightly rough, and fibre catches on it just enough to be annoying.

Having said all of that, it could just be me. Someone else might spin in a slightly different way, or not be quite so nit-picky. And anyway, I do allow room in my spindle collection for some that are just interesting, or particularly pleasing to look at. I can't be too cruel......

The Association Summer School and our Comprehensive Spindle Spinning class. I have had two people contact me to say that they have signed up since I heard that we were short of numbers. Fingers crossed there may have been more. But there is still time, if anyone is still deliberating - I can promise you a great time! You can contact the Convenors via the Association website.

This is almost certainly the last time that we shall offer this week-long course. You wouldn't want to miss out, would you?

(Or maybe you would.....ahem!)

1 comment:

christina said...

The seed pod spindle is one I bought at Woolfest in 2009 as a "souvenir" - I did/do use it though I bought it for its looks.
Since then I have become more interested in actual spindling and bought a couple of more serious spindles (2 because I could not decide between them if you remember).
I'm not really in a position to judge the seed pod's ability as my own ability is limited so it does not slow me down - though the fur does catch the fibre - but I am very interested to read your comments.