The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft

19Feb/1411

Announcing the Overdrive Head

With great pleasure (and a little bit of pride!) I am delighted to announce the new Overdrive Head by Majacraft. This has been a collaborative project between Suzy Brown (Woolwench) and Majacraft over the last year and we have finally been able to finish it off.

Overdrive high capacity spinning head

Overdrive high capacity spinning head

 

The Overdrive Head will allow you to spin production volumes of yarn on the Aura, Rose or Suzie/Suzie Professional. It is based on the Aura double drive head but has a larger axle and much larger bobbin.

Overdrive high capacity spinning head

Overdrive high capacity spinning head

 

Andy

19Feb/142

Pat Old’s review of the Overdrive protoype

When the Overdrive head was in a prototype stage, we asked the best spinner we know - Pat Old - to test it and offer some feedback. This is her review of the prototype that was running on a Rose.

 

Mega test of the MAJACRAFT MEGA BOBBIN HEAD                                                                              5/11/2013                 Pat Old

 

Sometimes I have a hankering to spin a really thick “shaggy shepherd” type single, or ply a super duper coil, or a really thick multiple navajo yarn. And I want a BIG skein of yarn!

On a normal traditional bobbin head I just get started and the bobbin is full. With this system – Ha!

Key points of this big bobbin head.

  • Smooth take up using the differential double drive band system, even when the bobbin is nearly full.
  • The wheel remains stable even though the bobbin adds considerably to the weight , shifting  the centre of gravity of the system.
  • The pigtail “orifice” is ideal for a flyer designed to spin chunky yarn.
  • Ratios available 5.75:1;  7.25:1; 10.5:1
  • 2 take-up rate optionsI washed about 1.5 kgs of Romney fleece with the aim of spinning  shaggy shepherd type yarns. This I have spun before to knit up into chunky warm sleeveless jackets using very big knitting needles. I teased it out a little to make it more spinnable before placing it in a basket beside me.

Prototype Overdrive Head with a full bobbin on a Rose

  1. Sample 1 - plied shaggy shepherd yarn– Thick uneven shaggy single spiral plied with a fine boucle
    1. I set the wheel on a ratio of 7.25:1 with a moderate take-up(larger whorl option) , and treadled slowly as I normally do.  I spun a very thick and deliberately uneven single, sometimes with an even draft and sometimes drafting from the side to create a self coil effect and picking brown and white teased fleece at random. For this yarn I let any fleece tips and irregularities pop out and don’t smooth them down.
    2. I was able to fill the bobbin without changing the take-up except when the rough single  snagged along its path. The take-up is sensitive to any fibre catching in the pig-tail or at the base of the ceramic ring.
    3. With the bobbin full and the need to use it again for plying I made a lazy kate from a very large shoe box and a knitting needle and wound the single onto the largest capacity skein holder I have, the Majacraft free standing skeiner. As the guide on the skeiner was too constricting for the chunky single I fed it on from the side. I also wound elastic hair ties to the ends of the four prongs to increase the capacity. This was a super sized skein!
    4. I then set the skeiner at an angle on the floor beside my wheel and plied off it. My cone of fine boucle was set on the floor just in front of the treadles of the wheel.
    5. For plying I increased the ratio to 10.5:1 This arrangement increases plying speed. The take-up band stayed on the larger option and I tweaked the take-up knob until I was happy with the pull. I plied a spiral with enough tension on the fine single for the un-tensioned chunky single to wind around it. Plying presented no problems and once again after the initial adjustments I did not need to change the settings again.
    6. With the bobbin full I wound this off onto the skeiner, and plied what was left into another small skein.  (580gms + 160gms)
    7. Both skeins were then washed and “thwacked” a few times to full and set the twist. I don’t normally “thwack” my yarns but as this was rather too hairy and soft in places it did need light fulling to stabilise the loose fibres.              
      Total weight of the  2 skeins = 690gms   (580 +160gms)
                     Total length = 155 metres                                           (111+44 metres)
                     metres / kg  =   225  
Plying on the Overdrive Head

Plying on the Overdrive Head

  1. Sample 2 – Chunky auto-wrap. As this was not going to be plied I set the ratio at 5.75:1.     I started spinning well enough, letting the fine pink single wrap around the chunky yarn as I spun, but I soon aborted the idea as the fine single kept getting caught in the pig-tail system. Perhaps my yarn was just too fat for an auto-wrap. I tried tensioning the fine single by guiding it lightly with one finger, but the yarn was then too compressed. This sample yarn was aborted.
  2. Sample 3 – simple shaggy shepherd single, partially self coil .
    1. The challenge with this yarn is that it needs a soft twist to be successful as a yarn for knitting. Can the mega bobbin head deliver a soft enough twist? I set the ratio at the slowest option of 5.75:1with the fastest take-up I could set the wheel at, and treadled very slowly, spinning as I did for sample 1. This spun up very well with no problems.  I spun the remainder of the washed fleece, not quite filling the bobbin.
    2. As I was  concerned that there would be too much unresolved twist in the finished single I decided to “thwack” the yarn after washing. This worked, but to fully stabilise the twist I would have had to full the skein to a point where it would have become quite hard. The problem was too much twist.Weight of skein = 600gm                              Length of skein = 139 metres                              Metres / kg = 231Thoughts:The MEGA bobbin head is a great attachment!  It delivers!
  • It has a smooth take up using the differential double drive band system, even when the bobbin is nearly full.
  • The wheel remains stable even though the full bobbin adds considerably to the weight , shifting  the centre of gravity of the system.
  • The pigtail “orifice” is ideal for a flyer designed to spin chunky yarn.
  • It easily coped with a skein of 600gms+.Possible improvements?
  • I would have liked to have had the option of an extra  ratio of about 4.5:1. My 3rd sample yarn (thick single) has too much twist, even though I used the fastest take-up option and I treadled veryslowly. An extra slow ratio would also enable more finger manipulation before take-up, which would be very helpful when spinning  other yarns where there are a lot of things happening at one time in the construction.
  • An issue I had was that my thin auto-wrap yarn constantly got caught up in the pig tail system.  Would a slightly more acute angle at the end resolve this? Or was I just pushing the boundaries of practicality a bit too far? I didn’t use the back centre Z guide at all as my yarns were too thick and the Z guide too constricting. Perhaps that would have resolved the issue and I was expecting too much!Thanks, Andy and Glynis, for giving me the opportunity to try this great machine!     

 

 

 

Filed under: Accessories, Wheels 2 Comments
22Nov/138

I’ve been thinking about bobbins

As the title of this post suggests, I have indeed been thinking - and I am hoping for a bit of feedback on this too please.

So here goes... Bobbins, people often measure bobbins by the weight of yarn they hold. For example, "I can fit 250gm of yarn onto my large bobbin" or similar. This is not making sense to me because there is so much potential inconsistency. Different fibres have different densities, different yarns have different densities, spinners can pack the yarn tighter or looser on to a bobbin. So if my bobbin holds 250gm of fibre, is it lace weight or something really lofty, is it Romney or Angora rabbit? There are so many variables in measuring by weight!

My thoughts are that measuring the volume of a bobbin makes more sense - the volume of yarn that can be contained on the cylinder shape made by the bobbin.

The primary issue with this is that volume measures are in cubic centimetres or cubic metres or the equivalent imperial measure. I personally find these hard to visualise (what size does 1cm^3 look like?). I thought that measuring in liquid units might be better, I can picture a litre or a pint.

I did some measuring of our bobbins and came up with the following numbers:

LACE BOBBIN - 0.25 litres or 0.5 pints
STANDARD BOBBIN - 0.5 litres or 1.0 pints
JUMBO BOBBIN - 1.0 litres or 2.0 pints

So what do you think? Is this a useful way to measure bobbin capacity? If so what units would you use (particularly in countries that use imperial measures)? Your feedback would be very valued thanks :-)

Andy

Filed under: other stuff, Wheels 8 Comments
1Mar/135

Anna Josefsson’s custom Rose

Recently we had the opportunity to engrave another custom wheel, this time a Rose for our friend Anna Josefsson. I was very pleased with how it came out, particularly the little frog on the handle nut! This was the first time we had tried engraving on to the nut and it was very encouraging to see it work so well.

Anna Josefsson Rose

Anna Josefsson Rose

 

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

 

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

 

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

Anna Josefsson Rose detail

 

Until next time

Andy

Filed under: People, Wheels 5 Comments
18Feb/132

Fibre art rolags by Wooldancer

Our friend Wooldancer (Michelle Snowdon) in Australia posted a very nice video to YouTube recently of Fibre Art Rolags she is producing.  The work she is creating is very beautiful and I have included the link below. I found it really inspirational what talented people like Michelle are creating on their Auras.

I have also added a link to this video in the video resources area of the Majacraft web site - it can be found under "Inspiration".

You may wish to keep an eye on her YouTube channel as she is indicating this is the first of a series. Thanks Michelle!

Andy

 

Filed under: Fibre, People, Wheels 2 Comments
13Feb/132

Custom Aura design

Several years ago, we created a custom Aura for our good friend Therese Cruz. She provided the design which was drawn by a Dutch artist Mark Storm.

So anyway, long story short ;-) , I am looking around for inspiration on Bing images this morning and I come across this site amongst the search results!

I recommend visiting the link below to see more of the images.

Storm 3d blog

Custom Aura design by Mark Storm

Custom Aura design by Mark Storm

 

Until next time

Andy

Filed under: People, Wheels 2 Comments
7Feb/131

JazzTurtle on ABC TV!

Our friend Esther of JazzTurtle fame appears in an ABC segment showing how to do tailspinning (and she uses and Aura ;-) ! ). Go Esther!

Esther Tailspinning

 

Until next time

Andy

Filed under: Fibre, People, Wheels 1 Comment
7Sep/120

Camp Pluckyfluff – HANGTOWN October 27,28

The title says it all really!

Lexi Boeger aka Pluckyfluff is hosting a camp over the weekend of October 27 and 28. I have had the good fortune to take part in one of Lexi's classes/camps and she is AWESOME! She has Auras to try as well as the Dynamic Heddle loom. It appears as though spaces are limited so if you would like to take part in a weekend to remember then I suggest enrolling soon.

Lexi Boeger - Pluckyfluff

Lexi Boeger - Pluckyfluff

 

Camp Fluckyfluff on Facebook

Enroll here.

Andy

Filed under: Loom, People, Wheels No Comments
2Oct/1110

The Aura Toolkit App

Aura Toolkit Tile

The Aura Toolkit app for Windows Phone 7 has just been published to the Marketplace (Windows Phone Marketplace). This has been a project I have been experimenting with for quite a while and am very excited to have it available finally. As a quick disclaimer, this post contains some of my own opinion so bear this mind as you read on.

The main feature of the Aura Toolkit is the wizard that allows you to select Bobbin Drive and Flyer Drive ratios (by touch) and then it auto-magically can calculate the draw and twist per inch for yarn. It also has a selection of recipes as well as ratios and dimensions of the Aura. It uses the very cool Panorama control as well as some other neat bits I have found or made. The best bit to share is the price...

FREE!

Here are a couple of screenshots

Aura Toolkit Intro

Aura Toolkit Intro

Aura Toolkit Tools

Aura Toolkit Tools

Aura Toolkit Wizard

Aura Toolkit Wizard

If you have a Windows Phone and would like download it, look in "Tools and Productivity" in the Marketplace.

The question that I am sure is going to come next is "Where is the iOS/Android version?". Well, <opinion>Microsoft has excellent tools, resources and online support. I find WP7 to be very elegant and innovative and produce quality apps in a short time. Also, it is easier to get an app noticed in the Marketplace as WP7 is 'on the up'. I am very excited to see what the Nokia phones are going to look like which are going to be coming out before the end of the year and I also suspect the integration with Windows 8 (middle of next year) is going to be pretty special too. From what I understand iOS has a steep learning curve. Android does not have hardware standards and multiple versions of the software so making sure the app runs reliably everywhere is not easy. It will be WP7 only for a while unless I fancy some new challenges.</opinion>

So there you have it. Download it, review it, rate it, make suggestions (I already have some ideas for a newer version). It will remain free because we want to support Majacraft spinners and give you fun tools to help in your creativity.

You can get it here Aura Toolkit

Until next time.

Andy

11Apr/110

Next gen Rose

The elves have been busy at Majacraft. This week (actually last week as I type this), we have shipped the next generation of our Rose spinning wheels. While they are still obviously a Rose to look at, very little has not been inspected thoroughly and tweaked, modified and improved where we can. Rob and I have spent a lot of time trying to make the lines as smooth and elegant as possible so that hopefully it creates a very romantic look.

The new Rose

The new Rose

Glynis testing the new Rose

Glynis testing the new Rose

To help with building this romantic wheel, we commissioned a local artist, Sharon O'Callaghan to redesign the Rose motif. We are absolutely chuffed (= very, very happy :-) ) with the design she has come up with and it now is laser engraved on the handle and Rose carrier. She has been very helpful and inspirational for us to work with.

Tauranga artist Sharon O'Callaghan

Tauranga artist Sharon O'Callaghan

Sharon does not have a great deal of art on the internet however many of her paintings are displayed around Tauranga. If you wish to contact her then write to us and we will happily forward your her details to you.

Frog model by Sharon OCallaghan

Frog model by Sharon O'Callaghan

Keep an eye out for the new Roses amongst your friends and spinning groups and let us know what you think.

Some of the modifications in the Rose:

  • Smoother head design
  • JCB bolts used in the handle
  • New Rose motif
  • 10mm stainless steel shaft on the drive axle
  • New base design
  • New pedal design
  • JCB bolts in the base
  • Majacraft stainless steel hinges
  • Low profile handle nut

The full description appears on our web site in the Wheels section. Until next time...

Andy

Filed under: Wheels No Comments