People, especially longtime spinners, often ask us,
"What ratios does it have?"
The answer is, "Ratios are meaningless on the miniSpinner
- or any other e-spinner."
What!!?? Meaningless?!! How can that
be? Well, let's think about it a little...
What is a ratio? In a nutshell, it tells you how many
times the flyer will revolve for each revolution of the drive
So, if your wheel has a ratio of 10:1, it means that
every time the drive wheel goes around the flyer will go around 10
times. If your ratio is 20:1, the flyer will turn 20 times for
each revolution of the drive wheel.
Note: Actual flyer speeds are always
less than the theoretical speed derived from the ratio because of
belt slippage, which can be quite significant at higher
Why is this
significant to spinners? Well, the most obvious is that a
higher ratio causes your flyer to turn faster. Many spinners,
however, think it results in a higher-twist fiber, which is only
partially true. But, we're getting close to the heart of the
Treadling and drafting
I have observed that spinners tend to treadle at a
specific rate they find comfortable. Treadling speed rarely
varies much, regardless of what you're spinning. I've also
noticed that spinners tend to draft in a rhythm that's synchronized
to their feet. Therefore, both the treadling rate and the
drafting rate tend to remain constant.
happens if you switch your spinning wheel to a higher ratio?
Your treadling rate (and drafting rate) remain
more-or-less the same, but the flyer turns faster. It's pretty obvious this will result in
a higher twist because you're feeding in fiber (drafting) at the
same rate as always, but the flyer is turning faster and therefore
putting more twist into the same amount of drafted fiber!
Not obvious to you? Go back and re-read this paragraph
think about it a little bit.
Back to ratios and the miniSpinner...
OK, so why doesn't ratio matter on the miniSpinner?
Because you simply turn the speed control knob to vary the flyer
RPM. Which, come to think of it, is all you're doing when you
change whorls to set a different ratio on your traditional spinning
The difference in spinning on the miniSpinner
Beginners typically find it much easier to learn how
to spin on the miniSpinner, because they can focus on the fiber
instead of coordinating hands and feet, starting and stopping, and
making sure the wheel is turning the right direction.
On the miniSpinner you just start it with the
foot switch, set a comfortable flyer speed, and then concentrate on
drafting and watching the twist. You still have a constant
drafting rate, but your feet don't have to be thinking about
treadling. How good is that?
This is one of the first exotic wood miniSpinners
I built. It's bloodwood and maple. I like the contrast
between the two woods, plus it allows me to install a matching
WooLee Winder, which is only available in maple and cherry.