The ring spinning process has been used to produce fine and high quality staple fibre yarns. The stability of the rotating yarn loop (i.e. balloon) between the yarn-guide and the traveller-ring is crucial to the success and economics of this process. Balloon control rings are used to contain the yarn-loop, by reducing the yarn tension and decreasing the balloon flutter instability. Flutter instability here refers to the uncontrolled changes in a ballooning yarn under dynamic forces, including the air drag. Due to the significant variation in the length and radius of the balloon during the bobbin filling process, the optimal location for the balloon control ring is not easily determined. In order to address this difficulty, this study investigates the variation in the radius of a free balloon and examines the effect of balloon control rings of various diameters at different locations on yarn tension and balloon flutter stability. The results indicate that the maximum radius of a free balloon and its corresponding position depend not only on the yarn-length to balloon-height ratio, but also on yarn type and count. A control ring of suitable radius and position can significantly reduce yarn tension and decrease flutter instability of free single-loop balloons. While the balloon control rings are usually fixed to, and move in sinc with, the ring frame, results reported in this study suggest that theoretically, a balloon control ring that always remains approximately half way between the yarn-guide and the ring rail during spinning can lead to significant reduction in yarn tension.