Archive for March, 2015

Latest project – a home made electric spinning wheel

March 23, 2015

I enjoy spinning, but with various back problems and not enough space in the lounge room for my spinning wheel I don’t get to spin much, other than at craft group twice a month.  So recently I started looking into electric spinning wheels.  There are some really lovely ones out there but the price range of $800 or more was just too steep for me to even consider.  However, after looking in a local second hand store at what was obviously an old home made electric spinner that was still out of my price range, I started to wonder if it might be worth my while to try and make my own.

So last Saturday I made a start.  I actually already had a spare flyer (the part that spins around and puts the thread onto the bobbin) which was a major head start.  I made a wooden frame to hold the flyer and pulled a 12V fan motor out of one of our wrecking cars (Kim’s suggestion) and mounted it underneath to do the spinning via a drive belt.  Then I rigged up a bobbin brake and tried out various things as drive belts on it.  I was using a battery charger to power it at first, but it was going too slow so then I tried it with 4 x 3.4V Li-ion batteries hooked up in series which went much better.  No sooner did I get it going than I dropped it and broke my flyer!  Kim assures me it should glue back together okay though.


Anyway, it is a work in progress!  I found a good sized rubber drive belt which was going nicely for a few tries, but that also broke – it was pretty old – but it might take a bit to find a good replacement.  I’ve ordered a battery holder and probably should mount my motor a bit better too, also a better adjustment for my bobbin brake than a piece of chain would be good, and I need to work out an easier way to get the flyer in and out.  All of which just goes to show there are a lot of adjustments and improvements to make, but it does actually work and I did get to spin a bit.  🙂

11th April 2015

Time for an update on the Spinner!

I’m pleased to say I have made some of the necessary improvements on my spinner.  The battery holder arrived and is mounted under the base with 4 nice new batteries.  Kim gave me a hand to wire it all together nicely and I installed an on/off toggle switch (which came out of the tractor which Kim is in the process of rewiring the ignition of) so I no longer need to use alligator clips to make it go, though I do still use them to make it run backwards to ply the wool I have spun.


A friend had some drive belt cord that he fitted for me, and he also helped me to make some improvements to stabilise the motor mounting and the uprights.  We also glued the flyer back together and it seems to be holding well so far.  Then this morning I put on a machine head that I took from a broken guitar which I am using to adjust the bobbin brake, and which is a great improvement on the old piece of chain.


It runs well and I am very pleased with it.  If possible I hope to get some bearings for the ends of the flyer to make it run a little quieter and a quicker and easier way to remove the bobbin would be nice, but in the meantime I am enjoying using it.

We took a little bit of video of it running the other day which I have included below.  It was before the most recent improvements but still shows it in action.  🙂

Cow in calf – I hope

March 15, 2015
With much trepidation I journeyed down to the end of our road this week with my enthusiastic cow.  It is times like this that I am very glad she is halter trained.  She had spent the entire morning mooing and pacing the fences so there was not much doubt that she was on heat.
Twinkles the Cow
I put her in our farmer neighbour’s yards and then had to to shut various gates, let her out and shuffle cattle such that the one and only bull that I wanted was in the same paddock as her.  That left two friesian bulls on the other side of the fence, much to their annoyance, but I have been told that friesians throw large boned calves which we didn’t want.  There were lots of other excited cows milling around to make things more interesting too, most of them looking just like Twinkles.
Half an hour later, when she was starting to find the grass more interesting than the bull, I managed to catch her and led her all the way back home, after returning the paddocks to their original free ranging format of course.  And here is the prospective sire – the farmer assures us we will get a roan coloured calf from Twinkles by him, not that I really care about colour but he was quite keen that we use “the white bull with the brown spot on his nose”, hopefully I found the right fellow.  Apparently he is a white shorthorn cow crossed with a hereford bull.

Russel's white bull with the dot on its nose

So, the calf should be due just before Christmas.  I’ll let you know how things go!