Her Handspun Habit: 3 Tips for Better E-Spinner Handspun

More spinners than ever are going electric—what’s your take? In my last post on fine-tuning your e-spinner, I shared ergonomic and setup ideas for gaining a more seamless e-spinning experience geared toward those of us adapting from treadle wheels. This time I’m here with more e-spinning tips aimed at twist and takeup management.

Whether you’re using an e-spinner or traditional spinning wheel, yarn is created by introducing twist into fiber. However, technically speaking, an electric spinner is not a spinning wheel, as there is no drive wheel. Because of this, pulleys (also called whorls) are also absent, and the unit does not depend on ratios for speed. In my own opinion, the biggest mistake we make with our e-spinners is depending solely on the machine’s speed to control the input of twist—a natural reaction to having a speed dial. We forget to think like the intentional spinners we are or want to be.

3 Tips for Going Beyond the Speed Dial:

1. Slow down.
When you have a device that can rotate its flyer faster than you have ever treadled on a wheel, it can be tempting to use this option. Although it certainly feels counterintuitive to spin more slowly than the e-spinner’s capacity, doing so allows you to contemplate the yarn you’re making and to maximize the other nuances available to you on your e-spinner.


When spinning a fine yarn that needs to gather plenty of twist before winding onto the bobbin, try cross-lacing. Use the guides on both sides of the flyer. Yarn comes through the orifice, goes through one guide, and passes under the bobbin to the other flyer guide before winding onto the bobbin. Photos by Deborah Held

2. Master your controls.
Make friends with your tensioning device, and remember to factor uptake into all of your spinning. Want a soft, fluffy, bulky-gauge yarn? No matter the draw used, that yarn is going to need less twist than a laceweight singles. The former requires a light twist and strongish draw-in, while the latter needs to gather twist prior to winding onto the bobbin. Along these lines, learn to maximize the capabilities of your flyer (or flyers), including such options as cross-lacing. Even the use of appropriately sized orifice reducers can impact your final yarn.

3. Stop “treadling.”
There’s a basic principle regarding the use of treadle wheels: stop treadling when you run into any hiccup while spinning. We learn to stop the wheel, assess any issues, and get re-situated. The same standard holds true while spinning with an electric spinner; stopping can feel challenging but is just as necessary. If you have a foot pedal, try placing it on the table next to the spinner or even on the chair near your lap so you can reach it easily to stop the e-spinner.


Despite the fact that there are no literal treadles, the “stop treadling” principle still applies here.

I hope this helps you go beyond simply powering up your e-spinner and letting the machine spin for you. Thinking like the spinner you are and want to be will put you in charge of your handspun output in no time.


Featured Image: Don’t let its compact size fool you. Even without a drive wheel, your e-spinner is packed with power and possibility.

Go electric!


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