Over the past month or two, I have become interested in yarn used in loop-end string mops. Dustin Skye and Todd Kamisugi are having great success with the cotton/poly blend yarn from a RubberMaid commercial/pro mophead replacement (model X884) that is available from WalMart.Brian Lawrence sent me a nice tri-string loop that makes use of the yarn of a RubberMaid microfiber string mop that is quite nice.
Loop-end string mops can (with a bit of time) be unraveled into a single long length of yarn.
Anyway, I have bought a number of types of string mop heads to explore the yarns' suitability for bubble-making. I will be posting blog entries with pictures and videos of some of the trials. So far, I have made some nice bubbles with the X884 yarn, but I don't love its feel. It may just be a personal thing since Dustin and Todd get great results.I had trouble tracking down the MicroFiber mops that Brian likes (though I eventually mail-ordered one). But, I found a RubberMaid Rayon Finish Mop at Home Depot that seems very similar to the microfiber mops. Unraveled, it provides over 500 feet of yarn. (And, it cost about $9.50). It weighs about 1.05 grams/foot and is about 0.5mm in diameter. It is model FG D515-28 WHI and the label reads: #24 Rayon Finish Mop [Rubbermaid Commercial Products]
These mop yarns are quite absorbent and take up a lot of bubble juice. A big loop (6-foot top-string) made entirely of the mop yarn feels pretty heavy and goes through a lot of juice and it is a bit hard to handle. That heavy bottom-string has a lot of inertia. The yarn is made up of four plies. So, I decided to deconstruct the mop yarn. I cut two 12-foot length of the mop yarn. From one length, I carefully unraveled a single ply of the yarn. And the other length I unraveled into two two-play lengths. (See photo above).
In order to facilitate testing, I decided to make a modular tri-string loop rather than make one loop for each combination that I wanted to test. I simply attached split rings to either end of each length of yarn (both the top and bottom strings). For testing, I clip the rings onto my wand's leads and use a keeper (sometimes) to bind the top and bottom together. The keepers can be taken off. So, it is a matter of a minute to swap top and/or bottom strings. I have been finding that the keeper is not critical (but that needs to be subjected to more testing before any real conclusions can be drawn).
I have done a little bit of testing with four-ply, three-ply, two-ply and one-ply bottom strings. Mostly, I have been testing the 2-ply and 1-ply bottom strings. 3 and 4 ply bottoms seem like they increase juice consumption without increasing usable capacity (with the 6' top-string loop) and are less friendly (due to their mass) than the lighter-weight one and two ply bottom strings.
The poles that I used (seen in the picture above) are made form two lengths of 3/8" wooden dowel joined using 13/32" round brass tube (see Pole Extensions). The lower dowels apparently have swollen a tiny bit with the recent humidity and were such a snug fit that they only went an inch or two into the brass tubes. So, the 12" tubes might be overkill. I will try at some point to see if a 6" tube is sufficient.
Even the one-ply bottom is only somewhat self-closing -- although it is more self-closing than I thought in the field. Reviewing the videos, I can see that the wand tips do not have to be together for the bubble to close (especially after the first bubble of a multi-bubble dip). This is obvious reviewing the video in slow motion but isn't quite so obvious at full speed. Even a single-ply bottom is capable of producing some very big bubbles or several pretty large bubbles from one dip.
The poles are made of 48" long 3/8" diameter dowels. Round Brass Tube is used to join to 48" dowels as described in the article Pole Extensions.
The bubble juice is the Sept. 2011 Recipe (which is currently my go-to recipe).
The video quality of the tests below is not great but gives an idea of the promise that these materials hold.
Single-Ply Bottom String : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4odB9czRAA
Two-Ply Bottom String: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v3zMjLuw2c&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Other related videos using the Rayon Mop Yarn: