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Art Yarn Testing on new Spinning Wheels and Flyers

Art Yarn Testing on new Spinning Wheels and Flyers

I am testing out a Majacraft Aura, an Art Yarn Flyer for my Louet S70, and a new flyer for my original Ashford Country Spinner.  I am trying to decide which way I want to go for my Art Yarn Spinning.


First I was spinning art yarn on the Majacraft Aura with a regular head and the bamboo bobbins that are standard on the Aura.  I tried to spin two styles of yarn.  First I spun a lockspun bulky art yarn.  And second, I spun laceweight yarn in a backwards long draw.

Textured yarn on Aura Bobbin


I have to say I was not pleased with either style of spinning.  I felt that there is just not enough take up and draw in on an Aura when I spin at high speed ratios for a bulky textured yarn.  If I were to spin slowly at a low ratio, it would might be just fine.  I can already do that on my Ashford Country Spinner so no gain there.  


It is a double drive hybrid set up.  But the take up still feels like scotch tension and seems to still suffer from drag and inertia as the bobbin fills.  The constant fiddeling with adjusting the brake as the bobbin filled up was beyond annoying and another fail for my tastes. And trying to spin laceweight in a backwards longdraw on the Aura, THAT was not happening.  Epic fail on that one. End of story.


Second I used my Louet S70 ST using Louet Art Yarn flyer. I was spinning locks and tails in a bulky to super bulky art yarn and also trying for laceweight in a backward long draw. Same two styles that I tried on the Aura.

Textured yarn on Louet Art Yarn Flyer


Art yarn flyer plus lockspinning on a Louet brings out my happy smiles. It was fabulous and worked like a charm. Don’t get me wrong though, I still think the flyer is ugly compared to my beautiful. Oak S70.


Next I tried using fast speed of 10.5 ratio on 3 speed bobbin to spin laceweight in a backwards long draw. It was so smooth and easy.  No fuss and no musd.  Just sit down and spin.  Just how I like my wheels to be. Rather versatlie wheel with simple to work tension and braking. 


Third I plyed bulky lockspun textured singles with my Ashford Country Spinner. I used a new flyer that was sliding rings vs hooks for the first time. So much better for plying large anounts of lockspun textured yarn than fighting those tails on the hooks.  This is getting a yes from me as well.

Plyed Textured yarn on Ashford Country Spinner Bobbin


I did not even attempt a laceweight in a backwards long draw on the Ashford Country Spinner.  I have spun fine singles on the Country Spinner before but it required a lot of holding the yarn back to build up twist with its low ratios.  That is impossible to do with a backward long draw as the take up is too strong on this wheel naturally.  I had too many tests to do this weekend with my borrowed equipment to waste time on a test I knew was an epic fail to start with. The Country Spinner’s super power is art yarn and bulky yarns. It does poorly at high twist fine yarns.

All the test Textured yarns drying on the rack


Altogether after spinning on all three wheels, I am very happy with  the Louet S70 the most.  Happy is probably an understatement, I have found my wheel for most everything.

All my happy yarns waiting to be used
My new handpan is here

My new handpan is here

It has finally arrived. My new handpan is here. Just in time for Charlie to hear it before he has to go offshore. It is Easter and I am off outside to play in the goat pen. The Oberhasli Dairy goats and Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) seem to be fascinated by the music.

Josh the maker playing it before shipping

I took this out of the box and started playing like we were old friends. This pan was made for me and both of us know that. This is such fun. The sustain and tone of this pan is beautiful. So ethereal and light and pure tones.

I have a few short clips of me playing that day in the barnyard. The Easter barnyard concert.

Caprica getting into the music

I have another clip where even the LGD dogs came to visit.

the LGD dogs are interested

I really did enjoy playing for them that day and found it so easy of an instrument to play. The sounds and notes were beautiful and the resonance very nicely balanaced.

My handpan

I have a few new photos of it. The hard case is a lovely sage green. I just love them both!

D Minor Celtic 13
D Minor Celtic 13 Handpan

D Minor Celtic 13 Handpan

I have been playing my handpans every day for months.  It seems to have greatly helped with my pain levels as well as is just plan fun.  Small amounts of practice on a daily basis interspersed with longer sessions on occassion has greatly changed my playing abilities.  I am finding new songs and rhythms that seem to come from no where….inside me?

Busy making my new handpan


I have news….exciting news!  I have commissioned a custom handpan from Veritas Sound Sculptures.  It is a D Minor Celtic 13.  We are calling it Celtic because the top pan layout is a Celtic pattern but this pan has all the notes for an entire D Minor Scale.  The Bb is one of the 3 bottom notes, so the “Kurd” part is not on top.  That is why why we decided to call it a D Celtic.

Here is a youtube link to the maker, Josh, playing my hand pan after it was completed before he shipped it out to me. I am so excited. I have been waiting for this most of March and soon it will be here.

Josh is also owner of Rivera Steel Tuning and tunes and repairs handpans from around the world made by many makers. He has a remarkable ear and gets the pans sounding their best self.

Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

I made a new colorway on my blending board of my Rolag Hybrid. I am calling it Silver Gray Sparkles.

Silver Gray Sparkles is a smooth sparkling rolag batt. No locks or chunky bits….just tons of sparkle and various smooth fibers. My Rolag is a hybrid of a layered batt and rolag.

Silver Gray Sparkle Rolag

I layer my fibers on my blending board without packing them down into the blending board teeth. I use the dowels to roll up the rolag without drafting through the inner fibers. I only draft at the end of the roll to secure the rolag closed. It is best spun from the end in 2-4 inch rolled up sections pulled off the roll while still rolled up. Picture taking a BIG piece of a jelly roll cake…but still rolled up. I have found sections larger than that a bit much to handle in my hand. If temperatures or humidity is high, there is a risk of felting that is possible while holding a large rolag for a longer period of time.

On the blending board

I let the rolag sit for a while trying to decide if I wanted to spin, felt or sell them. I decided to spin these all up this week into 2 large skeins. Each skein is a 2 ply and spiral plyed. Each skein has one of the plys as this silver gray sparkle rolag hybrid. It is a blend of numerous fibers such as Merino, Black Dyed Tussah Silk, Gotland, Masham, and White Firestar.

Each of the 2 yarns is one ply of the above rolag with the other ply being different in each skein. The lighter color skein was plyed with a 2 ply fine silk thread and done as an extreme spiral yarn. The darker skein was plyed with a handspun bamboo ply. Both skeins are a textured yarn with that homespun feel.

Dark skein
Light skein

I am a bit stunned how intensely different the two skeins look and feel. The darker skein with the bamboo ply is very heavy weight wise. And with so much bamboo in it, it took forever to dry! I have been staring at them for a while now trying to decide how to use them.

I need help. What do you think?

I really think I want to weave a wider scarf on my 16 inch rigid heddle loom. But past that I am stuck.

I think if I use one skein for weft and one for warp that the difference between the skeins will be lost.

So do I warp up with :

1. A white warp and weave strips?

2. A white warp and weave 2 separate scarves?

3. A white warp and weave 2 scarves alternating both skeins and afterwards seam 2 scarves together and make a shawl?

4. A white warp and weave 2 scarves with just one skein in each. So have a light and dark scarves than seam those into a shawl??

5. A dark warp and than where the heck do I go?

6. Just keep staring at them and weave nothing?

See why I need help?? Comment below your thoughts.