Sunday, August 06, 2023

Testing The New Yarn Guide Covers for the Electric Eel Wheel 6

I was recently asked by Maurice Ribble to test some new yarn guide covers for the Electric Eel Wheel 6. I mostly spin fine yarns so I’ve never had a problem with the current wire yarn guides but I am aware that the wire yarn guides can become an issue when you spin some more textured yarns.   I was excited to try to put the EEW6 through its paces!

(The plastic covers slide easily inside the wire yarn guides and are held firmly in place by a groove on the outside of the guide.)

As I didn't know just how textured a yarn has to be to become a problem, and in an effort to be a good scientist, I started all of the following spins without the plastic wire covers until the point that the yarn got stuck, and then I added them to see how much of a difference they made. 


To determine the limits of the EEW6 I began with a textured, loosely spun, core-spun yarn.   The yarn wound onto the bobbin easily and I didn’t need to add the 3D-printed guide covers.  With quite a high brake tension and using the heavier gauge brake band spring, there was no hesitation, and the yarn wound on smoothly.

To test the limitations of the yarn guides and orifices further, I went on to turn the core-spun yarn into supercoils. Unfortunately, it appears that I very quickly exceeded the limitations of the Electric Eel Wheel 6, but it did give me an idea of the thicknesses of yarn that the EEW6 can handle.


The larger lumps in the yarn weren’t just getting caught in front of the yarn guides, they were too big for the orifice and were getting stuck on their way out of the orifice too.  Still, I managed to spin quite a heavily textured super-coil yarn on the EEW6 - albeit by winding the yarn onto the bobbin by hand every 20cm or so…

Having learned how thick a yarn the EEW6 can handle, I then went on to spin a high-twist, less textured super-coil yarn, and the 3d printed yarn guides coped really well.

 Without the yarn guides, the almost perpendicular ridges of the super-coil yarn were immediately getting caught in front of the wire yarn guides.  Once I’d fitted the plastic yarn guides I didn’t have to stop at all to wind the yarn onto the bobbin, it just sailed smoothly by. 

I spun my first beehive core-spun yarn, and again, unsurprisingly, I needed the 3D-printed yarn guides to get the beehives to wind onto the bobbin.

 I had no problem spinning the above yarn with the plastic yarn guides in place (after I’d learned how to make beehives …)

I was surprised how well the wire yarn guides on the Electric Eel Wheel 6 coped with plying a moderately sized single with a beaded thread. I was sure that the beads would get stuck on the wire yarn guides, but they just kept winding on. At one point I was adding 5 at a time, just to try to get them stuck, but they just kept on winding on.

I started to get a little experimental and crocheted flowers onto my handspun yarn that I then plied with some thickly spun singles. I didn’t really need to use the 3D-printed yarn guide inserts, but they did make it a little smoother, and I didn’t need to turn the brake tension up quite so much with the plastic inserts on. 

Finally, I made some 1cm wool top pom poms and knotted them at intervals onto some blue yarn that I had already chain plied.  I then removed the plying twist by running the pom pom yarn through the EEW6 clockwise and then plied it again with some pink singles.

I was really surprised at how well the wire yarn guides coped with spinning pom poms.  I was sure they would get stuck.

I even made this slow-motion video to see if the pom poms were getting hindered by the wire yarn guides, but with a firm brake tension, they were smoothly pulled onto the bobbin without needing to use the plastic yarn guide covers.

I didn’t have any locks to try lock-spinning, but I imagine that the plastic yarn guides would definitely reduce the chances of the locks (or any other stray lengths) getting caught on the ends of the wire yarn guides too.

In summary, the 3D-printed yarn guides slotted in really easily and I had no problems taking them in and out. I think they will be a great addition to the accessories packs and will allow people to spin moderately sized super-coils, locks, slightly messy batts, and beehives.  However, in my opinion, on their own, the current wire yarn guides are still very capable of handling somewhat textured art yarns.

Without a complete redesign, the EEW6 will always be limited by the size of its orifice and its compact design, but the new yarn guide covers will broaden the range of yarns that can be feasibly spun on the current Electric Eel Wheel 6.

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At this point, I normally suggest similar related blog posts, however, my list of spinning-related content is becoming a little unmanageable...  If you'd like to read more blog posts about spinning and fibre preparation, please take a look at this page here where you will find links to all of my spinning and fibre articles.  

Thank you for reading, and happy spinning! 


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