The plan for plying

Good morning and happy Saturday! Last weekend was a bit of a mess and not solely because of the time change. My sleep issues had started long before which is somewhat “normal” for me in late winter/early spring. Things seem to have gone back to normal after this past Monday which I am quite glad for.

I knew early on in planning for this gradient project that plying all eight ounces of yarn into one skein would be an issue as my Kromski bobbins typically only hold about four ounces each. This would have meant splicing the second bobbin of plied yarn to the first during the winding off stage. That probably would have worked out just fine and I am sure the join would be unnoticeable, but I would really rather that all be done during plying.

I do own the jumbo flyer assembly for my Lendrum wheel, and that big bobbin would certainly hold 8 ounces of plied yarn, but it is currently out on loan. However, the Lendrum jumbo flyer is not really very efficient for plying most of the yarns that I make and I have rarely used it for that. In fact, I have rarely used it at all. For starters, the flyer ratios are better suited for the chunky and bulky types of art yarns that it is designed for, as is the really large orifice. I would have to treadle quite a bit to properly ply each length of yarn between my hands and the orifice. Treadling faster would help, but one of the downsides to the jumbo Lendrum flyer is that it gets a little wobbly at high speeds. On top of that, the large orifice would have made the yarn I am holding wobble in my hands as the flyer rotates which makes it feel really awkward.

The Kromski jumbo flyer and regular flyer

I had been looking at the jumbo flyer for my Polonaise for some time and I figured this was a great time to finally spring for one. Its large orifice (not quite as large as the jumbo Lendrum flyer) and large hooks do make it ideal for large yarns, it has features that also make it more efficient for the plying job that lies ahead with this project.

The jumbo flyer pulley on the bottom and the regular flyer pulley on top

First and foremost, the jumbo flyer for the Polonaise does not have fixed ratios. It has a larger flyer pulley with two available speeds that can be removed and replaced with any one of the smaller pulleys for the regular Polonaise flyer because the size of the flyer mandrel and threading are the same. However, while the fast and very fast flyer pulleys fit, you are limited to using these in Scotch tension (flyer brake) as the pulley sizes are too close or smaller in size to the pulleys on either end of the jumbo bobbin for double drive. That isn’t a concern for me though. Although I prefer double drive for both spinning and plying, I am more than happy with a single drive mode if it means efficient treadling.

The leather bearing for the jumbo flyer is clearly much newer

There was a bit of a “breaking in” that had to be done when the jumbo flyer assembly arrived. The inside of the brand new front leather bearing was a little on the rough side, and also a bit tight making the flyer hard to turn. With a lot of Vaseline and a lot of treadling, that rough edge began to smooth out and the flyer began rotating more freely. At times I was treadling quite fast too, and I was very pleased to not experience any wobbling as I did with the jumbo Lendrum flyer at those high speeds.

The orifice size, while still considerably large, is smaller than the orifice on the jumbo Lendrum flyer. I plied some leftover singles from another project that are close in size to my current project to test out the pulleys from my regular flyer, and although there was some wobbling of the yarn in my hands as the jumbo flyer rotated, it wasn’t as extreme as the jumbo Lendrum flyer. Still, I may hit up the home improvement store before to see if I can find some kind of nylon washer or bushing to fit inside and reduce the size of the orifice a little more.

So until I am ready to ply, I have put my regular flyer back on my Polonaise and I am now spinning the second half of the singles for my gradient project. The first half has been transferred to storage bobbins and I am reusing the wheel bobbins for the second half of this project as they are my quieter bobbins. I noticed the jumbo bobbin has plastic or nylon bushings in each end while my regular bobbins have what looks like brass. The regular bobbins that Kromski is currently producing also have a plastic or nylon bushing. I’m not sure when Kromski made that change but at some point I may think about replacing mine if the new bobbins are less noisy.

Well, that is all I have for this morning. I am off to spin. Have a great weekend and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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