Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

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.  🙂

Spinning a Yarn

April 1, 2012

I have been wanting to learn to spin ever since I bought some wool at a garage sale on a whim.  Recently I managed to get a local lady to come and demonstrate spinning at the church craft group.  A couple of other locals came along to have a go too and we all got to have a good laugh at our bumbling attempts, and got some good advice about how to learn.  Then last week I found a second hand wheel in Deloraine for a great price and couldn’t resist buying it.  It runs really nicely.

I think it is just amazing that you can turn a sheep fleece into one long line of thread!

And I have just finished spinning my first skein!  See, I am getting into the lingo already.  🙂  A skein is basically just two lengths of spun wool which have been twisted together (2 ply I guess, but much thicker than the machine made variety).  Admittedly it is fairly thick and chunky, but I am very pleased.

Lydia is now knitting me a scarf from it, and I am attempting to spin a finer thread.  I really enjoy doing it and with a shearer for a neighbour I figure I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting wool, but I just have to be careful not to overdo it or I get a sore back.  If I get good I think I will have a go at spinning alpaca wool too.  Such fun!

I had a change of pace yesterday when our farmer neighbour came and asked for help tagging his calves.  He was in a bit of trouble as his planned helper couldn’t come and he had to prepare the calves to be collected by the end of the day.  I think he really must have been running out of options to come and ask for our help.  🙂  Of course no one else was well enough to go but me, so off I went in my wellington boots into the fray.  And it was an interesting experience.  The calves were all about 9-10 months old and still with their mums, so we had to separate them out and run them through the crush one at a time to weigh them and put in the ear tags.  Thankfully the farmer knew what he was doing!  Most of them weighed between 350 and 450 kg and they had never been handled in their lives so were pretty feisty at times.  It was quite amazing how much you could get these big critters to do just by whistling, yelling and waving around a piece of poly pipe.  Certainly they could be quite dangerous if they wanted to, and I was under strict orders to jump up the fence if they showed signs of not running away, and you had to keep your eyes on them all the time, but mostly they just wanted to keep their distance.  It was not something I would want to do often, but it was certainly an interesting experience and thankfully I came home unscathed – if a little muddy.