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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Souped-Up Suzie for Speed Demons

The other day I had a very pleasant Skype chat with fellow spinner James Perry. He showed me his version of the Souped Up Suzie - he'd replaced the large whorl on his high-speed head with the regular Suzie whorl and upped his ratios significantly.

I thought I could do one better, and so this morning I replaced the large whorl on my high speed head with...the SLOW WHORL. Putting it to its opposite use seemed ironically funny to me, as well as sensible.

The small secondary drive belt that comes with the high speed head was not big enough to fit my new setup, so I made a new small belt, 45.5 cms long. It fitted perfectly. In the photo you can see the difference between the regular high speed whorl and the slow whorl.

Next I figured the ratios. I put a small piece of tape at the top of the drive wheel, and, turning the drive wheel slowly with my right hand, I counted how many times the shaft rotated by counting how many times the grub screw on the brass sleeve came around. One rotation of the drive wheel gave me (are you ready?) 39:1 with the secondary drive band on the larger of the two small shaft whorls, and (drum roll) 47:1 with the secondary drive band on the smaller of the shaft whorls. (The drive band was in the largest groove on the main drive wheel.)

Now the REAL test. Could I spin at those rates?

I put on the lace flyer and an empty lace bobbin and threaded it up, adjusted the tension, and grabbed a bit of Dorset roving.

YESSSSSSS! Spinning was WONDERFUL, treadling at about half my regular frenetic pace using a fast long draw. It spun into a very fine, even strand. Since I am lately obsessed with lace, I couldn't be happier.

So, here is what you need, fellow tinkerers. The high speed head. A slow whorl. A homemade secondary drive band that is 45.5 cms in circumference. I think the lace kit would be best - it is much easier treadling with a smaller flyer - but might not be absolutely necessary.

I have renamed my slow whorl. It is now the Speed Demon Whorl.


  1. What a great and successful idea! I don't actually own a wheel, but I was excited about this discovery anyway.

  2. Yarndude, you definitely need a spinning wheel!