This has been a project and a half, as I have been getting better at fine spinning in the process. I have learned that I much prefer a high ratio wheel -- we're talking, I just reached the pinnacle of my wheel last night, at 36:1 -- for the really fine stuff. And this is fine -- maybe not cobweb, but it will be 3-plied into a sock yarn about the same size as Regia. I would say "size 1 US needles" but I know I will be putting this on a 72 needle cylinder sock machine and cranking out a pair of socks in 2 nights -- I estimate another week, at least, for the first 4 ounces (I'm about 2 ounces into this thing).
The second four ounces will be 2-plied, so I can compare wearability. I'm not sure if it will be faster or not -- sure, less plying and drafting, but the singles will need more twist than my 3-ply singles need (which, granted, is still alot!!) Well, okay, I bet the 2-ply will be faster.
I've used all my own advice on fine spinning:
- well-prepared fiber: this is superwash merino pencil roving, very pettable! super-easy to draft, though I break off 12 inch lengths to spin from as my hands tend to compress it as I go, if it's much longer than 12 inches the drafting gets harder toward the end of the segment.
- minimum draw-in: the wheel is double-drive, so I can set a fairly soft draw-in by adjusting the tension on the drive band. I mess with it a bit each evening. A-la Mabel Ross, if I can't easily pull the yarn back out, then it's not loose enough.
- high ratio: did you see that above? 36:1!!! I thought I'd never need better than 20:1. Well, need is relative ... I could pedal faster, and I do, happily, but on my Journey Wheel with its very easy treadle action.
- less fiber in the drafting triangle: well, really, it draws out so nicely, I almost don't have a drafting triangle. It's almost point-of-twist drafting, except I'm squeezing as I go, since this is for socks -- it's all about the strength, honey! Usually I'm not a "squeezer" as I love pouffy yarns. But not for socks. I want them to last.
And if all my study wasn't enough, I found that Abby posted a great writeup on wheel ratios on her blog today! Serendipity!