Saturday, April 10, 2021

A new toy: Electric Eel Wheel 6.0

I got a new toy in the mail last weekend - an EEW 6.0! EEW is short for the Electric Eel Wheel, a lower-cost espinner designed and manufactured by Dreaming Robots. Maurice is the designer, and he has been making espinners for a while (as you can tell, because we're on the 6th version of the EEW). For those scratching their heads, an espinner is an electric spinner (as opposed to treadle-powered) that typically can be plugged into the wall or powered by a battery. 

I joined a Kickstarter for the EEW 6 sometime last summer, and hundreds of us received our wheels over the last week or two. I was so excited to see this box on my front porch!

Here is all the stuff that came out of the box:
Boy 1 (the engineering student) happened to be home over Easter weekend, and he was VERY interested in how all this went together. He helped me set it up. It's so easy he could have done it at age 5. I got it set up and spinning right away. The this soda can is for scale, so you can get a sense of the actual size of this contraption:
I've always been curious about espinners and often stop at festival booths to try them out. They can be quite expensive ($1000+). This one had a much lower price point and I was curious to try it. One thing I can do with this is spin FINER singles than my Ladybug can handle - the Bug's fastest whorl is 16:1. 

The EEW has a dial that goes from 0 to 6. I've been spinning on 4, so I still have room to go faster and finer. The whole thing has quite a small footprint, too - here is my setup on this little side table that I pull up to the couch:

The fiber you see here is Cheviot dyed in a colorway called "Christmas in July" (by Sheepspot). I had been spinning it VERY slowly on my cross-arm spindle, but now I'm whizzing through it. Here are my fiber nests ready to grab and spin. You can see I tried to break the fiber in blue sections so they will blend seamlessly into one another:
I tore myself away from this fun fiber to finish up my Breed School fiber from February: Rambouillet. Rambouillet is a fine wool, so knitters, think "merino" and you're close. I started spinning this quite fine on my Ladybug, but it was taking FOREVER so I started spinning it thicker. I figured I'd have two skeins and that was fine. But then the EEW came and I wanted to try spinning it on that, so I ended up with three different bobbins:
The purple one is the EEW bobbin - so fun!

I finished all of these as 3-ply yarns, and they are each a little different:

A - spun pretty fine on my Ladybug, 14:1, finished yarn is 13 WPI

B - spun thicker (because A was taking soooooo long) on my Ladybug, 10.5:1, finished yarn is 10 WPI

C - spun at #4 on the EEW dial; I got 11 WPI in the finished yarn

This fiber was harder to spin consistently than I expected. I don't know if that is because it's a fine wool, or because it's undyed (so I have no color cues to give me constant feedback about my twist angle) - probably a combination of the two.

Of course, it is next-to-skin soft and would be great in neckwear or a hat. Also, I think I can use skeins A & C in the same project - they are close enough.

I'm eager to experiment more with the EEW 6. One reason I got it is because I can spin a much finer single without getting another treadle wheel - my Ladybug's fastest whorl is 16:1. The EEW dial goes up to 6, and I was only on 4, so there is definitely more runway for me to play with.

The arrival of the EEW has energized my spinning this week! I'm also getting excited about a virtual MDSW class I'm taking on blending boards. My kit arrived this week and look at all the goodies:

In related news, that class will happen on 4/27, the day after I get my second COVID vaccine shot. I'm a little worried about side effects, but I happened to receive the Pfizer shot and I've heard that its side effects are much less extreme than the Moderna ones. So I will be drinking coffee, popping ibuprofen, and using ice as needed so I can power through a class I've been wanting to take for over a year. I was registered to take it (in person) at MDSW 2020, but of course it was cancelled. I am so excited to be on my way to fully vaccinated!!!


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  2. There are so many good things in this post! That EEW is very cool, and so cute that it almost makes me think I could spin. The finished 3-ply yarns are all beautiful. The colors in your blending board goodies are lovely, and I am sending you minimal vaccine side-effect good wishes. I got my second Moderna shot on Wed. and the 102 degree fever and the worst headache of my life kicked my butt on Thurs. My SiL got her second Pfizer shot on on Fri. and she was a little tired on Sat., but that's it. Be well, blend, and spin!