Introduction to Tension
For new spinners or spinners who are on a wheel that is new to them tension and uptake may be some of the first stumbling blocks. Thanks to the straightforward design of SpinOlution wheels and a few tips you should be able to quickly troubleshoot any issues.
Tension is the term to describe the strength of the wheel pulling the fiber from your hand as you spin while wrapping it onto the bobbin. For finer yarns or if you if you would like more time to draft then less tension would be prefered. If you are having issues with not having enough twist, your yarn not holding together or the yarn not being fed onto the bobbin then increasing the tension should help.
Clockwise rotation of the knob increases the tension, and counterclockwise rotation decreases it. Very minor adjustments are needed to fine-tune the tension - so only use partial rotations for the initial adjustment. Tension Blocks are Reversible! If your wheel starts squealing, rotate the block to silence the squeal before replacing the felt.
How it works: The brake knob screws onto a threaded rod; it pushes on a spring, which pushes on a nylon flange, which pushes on a wooden block. The wooden block goes into the head; on the curved inside edge there is a piece of felt. The block pushes on the rod that the bobbin rides on.
Finding Your Preferred Tension
Different spinners prefer different amounts of tension. Spinners who spin super-fine yarns and short staple fibers may remove the tension block completely.
Spinners who spin fine to worsted only need a small amount of tension to get the uptake they need. Spinners who spin chunky, bulky, or art yarn need a lot of tension.
If you have never spun before - it may take some time to find that “sweet spot”
➔ To set: Start by twisting the knob until there is no pressure on the spring resting on it, so that any more clockwise twisting of the knob would cause the spring to start to compress.
➔ Hold the leader straight from the orifice hook toward you, not at an angle. Always go along all the pegs from the first one you come to, to the front of the flyer arm.
➔ Hold the yarn you are making in a line from the center of the
orifice hook to you. You may find you need to increase tension slightly – only a quarter turn at a time – as the bobbin approaches full.
➔ The fuller the bobbin is, the more it can overcome the braking pressure. This is true of any Scotch tension based flyer system.
➔ On large bobbins, the weight of yarn on the bobbin will make treadling under high tension difficult. Remove some tension and allow the weight of the yarn to function as momentum based tension while you finish filling the bobbin.
➔ To spin ultrafine or short staple fibers, try completely removing the tension block.
Troubleshooting video filmed on a SpinOlution Pollywog by Dealer Erin James