Last Thursday I wrote a post on the Ply Magazine blog about oiling your wheel. I talked about how oiling can fix a multitude of problems and it is my go-to solution – the first thing I try. Well, let me tell you about a different problem I just tackled.
Before Christmas I was spinning and spinning. If you remember, I’m in the midst of spinning a whol lot of yarn for weaving fabric for a skirt. This yarn is a bit finer than the yarn that I made for the last 3 skirts so I need more yardage for the fabric.
Anyway, I’m spinning almost all of the yarn on the Schacht Reeves 30″ Saxony. I love that wheel. And I can spin for hours at a time on it with no problem. Christmas came and I didn’t spin for a couple of weeks because of traveling and things. So last Wednesday I got back at it. I got an empty bobbin, adjusted the tension on the wheel and got to work. But something felt a little off and I found myself adjusting the tension every few minutes and oiling more frequently to try and fix the problem.
What if felt like was inconsistent tension. Like there was pull and slack, and pull and slack. Sometimes the pull would be such that it would pull the yarn right away from me and I would have to rejoin. Sometimes it would just slide out of my hand s and sometimes it would snap and break. The slack was adding pig tails to the yarn before it even got to the orifice. I could not figure it out.
Then I remembered that I hadn;t changed the drive band in about 2 months and with the amount of yarn I had spun it was probably time for a change. So, new drive band and back to work.
Things felt a little better but still not right. By now I had filled my bobbin about 2/3 full and things were getting out of hand. Check out the number of pig tails on there. And I’m doing short forward draw with this yarn so there’s no excuse!
I was a bit stumped so I continued on for a little bit longer trying to think of all of the things that could have gone wrong. For crying out loud! I had just spun thousands of yards of singles on this wheel with no problem.
And then it hit me. I hadn’t used this bobbin in a while. I found it in a basket behind my chair. Who knows the last time it had been on the wheel.
I changed to a different bobbin that I knew I had spun on just recently and magically everything worked beautifully. The tension is even, the take up is smooth and I’m back to my happy place.
The offending bobbin is put aside and when I fill the current bobbin I think there may be a little bit of surgery. I’m not sure, but I think the bobbin bearings might be a bit tight on the bobbin shaft which will slow the spinning. If this is the case, I will take my round file and file the insid of each bearing just a tiny bit and see if that helps. I’ve done it on many bobbins in the past and it’s an easy way to salvage a bobbin that misbehaves.
If you are going to try this yourself, make sure you don’t file too much at a time. file a little and test it and then file a bit more if necessary. You don’t want to end up with an overly noisy bobbin because it is too loose on the shaft.