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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
On the left: ordinary pulley; on the right: high-speed pulley.

Tour de Fleece, Day 11

July 10: Day 11

Yesterday morning I complained to my partner that I'm still missing an important part of my borrowed Ashford Kiwi wheel.

Strangely, when the wheel came to me, it had the 3 different sets of pulleys* with it, but only one drive band.

Kiwi drive bands are made of a stretchy synthetic material. I take them off the wheel entirely when I'm not using them. Partly because Ashford says it keeps them from stretching out. But, at least one of my cats also finds the texture fascinating and likes to chew on them, so I feel safer putting them away. Each set of pulleys has a size of drive band that will work best for it.

I bought two drive bands as part of my offering to this wheel - one that fits the low-speed pulleys and one that fits the standard pulleys. I took the drive band that came with the wheel and cut it down a little, hoping it would fit the high-speed pulleys. I couldn't find the high-speed band sold seperately from the high-speed kit, and I thought it would be a little wasteful to have an extra set of pulleys.

Then, I stalled a little. Ashford says to just melt the two ends of the band, and form a new join. It sounds easy, right? Well, I tried it three times and couldn't get the join to hold. I am kind of a wimp about things that I think might burn me. Frankly, I also had visions of myself in an emergency room, trying to explain to a nurse that I was just trying to set up my spinning wheel for skinny yarn and could they please unstick it from my fingers?

Long story short, I put the mangled band away and contented myself with just the low-speed and standard pulleys. Until yesterday, when I complained about how nice it would be to be able to use the high-speed set to make thinner yarns more easily. My partner said, "Well, that doesn't sound hard," and fixed it, just like that.

So, this morning, I spun with the high-speed whorl for about 20 minutes. It was awesome! The photo above shows the spinning I did yesterday on the left and the high-speed whorl spinning I did today. Same wool, same technique, same spinner, totally different yarns.

Tonight, I'm planning on going to my local spinning guild and playing with my spindle. I'm going to try spinning about 36 inches of singles at a time, then navajo-plying them back to themselves right away. We'll see if I succeed!

*Some people call them whorls, but they're really pulleys. I admit I go back and forth, since pulley feels more technical and whorl sounds "nicer" to me, somehow.