Family Obsessions

I'm not the only member of this family with obsessions...
My 18yo son, Sam, has a few of his own. Origami is one of them. Teeny Tiny Origami is a new one. You should see the size of the hands which folded these tiny birds. (They are HUGE!)

My New Wheel!

This added Nov 6, 2011 - you might like to look at my updated instructions here.

Like I keep trying to tell you, I'm surrounded by geniuses! I stumbled upon this blog entry, Knitting, With Dogs Spinning Wheel, and it really captured my imagination. Another picture. Genius!

Check out my new wheel!

It took no time at all, and best of all, it cost nothing at all. Ahhhh... the pleasures of a junk-filled garage!

My first whatchamacallit - flier? spindle head? The thing which holds the spindle - the first one that I made was made out of brio mec parts. I just slapped something together so that I could determine whether or not this was a technique which I liked well enough to pursue. I loved it from the very first!

Since the holes in the brio mec parts are much larger than my "spindle" (a US size 10 knitting needle), it wobbled terribly, so made my spindle-holder-#2 out of a 2x4 piece of lumber. Once again, I just slapped something together out of a scrap piece of lumber, just to see how I liked the outcome.

I *really* like this version, and I have a nice piece of cedar which I'll use for other spindle heads. This particular piece of lumber has served as practice for several other projects - disregard the hole which is below the spindle - it was just a practice for some other project - there are other holes and cuts on the other side. I didn't care, as this was just a trial run, you know, swatching with waste yarn, heh heh heh.

As an aside, it seems that Brio is no longer making Brio Mec? I searched their website and couldn't find anything? Huh? How am I going to spin? Click here, and here, and here for other Brio Mec Spinning tools. Better go to ebay and stock up?

The 2x4 version is quite sturdy, and once I greased it with some Vaseline, pretty quiet, too. My only complaint is that the spindle is in there and can't be removed if I am in the middle of a spinning project. It can be removed when the yarn is removed, but not while the yarn is on the spindle.

I put a bit of innertube in there to increase the traction of the string, but I'm not sure that it makes much of a difference.

Look! It really works! I'm soooooo happy!

Here is my prototype #1, from the back. The bike wheel is screwed into a scrap piece of metal, then clamped onto an old spice rack, then that is clamped to a saw horse. The spindle head is clamped onto a door. Since I really love this type of wheel, I'm going to build a frame for it, and have it sized to sit on the table top.

This is what I am using for a band - it's quite stretchy and grippy and works great.

I used a yogurt lid as my "whorl" and I don't like it one bit. My second whorl is a mayonnaise jar lid and it works perfectly.

Here is set-up number 2 - - I moved the spindle further away from the wheel for two reasons - first -it makes the band grip onto the spindle better, as the angle of the band is more acute and therefore, grabs more of the spindle shaft, and second - I can spin a longer bit before I have to wind on. I can probably spin a length of about 6 feet before I run out of arm, and have to wind on. (I had my daughters hold up a sheet because the junky garage is rather distracting. Holding up a sheet is *much* easier than cleaning it up. grin)

Here you can see spindle head number 2. It is a piece of 1x plank with a bit mortised out.

I put all of my screws in a straight line, without drilling pilot holes, something that I know better than to do, so my board cracked. Oh well, once again, this is just a prototype. My finished product will be made out of a nice piece of maple which I dug out of the bottom of one of my boxes of wood-stash. It's going to be nice.

Anyway, this version features soda-pop-bottle-plastic straps - click for a larger picture, and maybe you can see that there are two straps on each side. The first strap is to surround the spindle in plastic so that it will turn without rubbing on the wood. The second strap is to hold the whole thing still - sort of like a bushing, sort of. It works great and is less noisy than the 2x4 version. Also, I would be able to switch out spindles even if they are full. I like this idea, especially since I never start a spinning project and carry it to completion. No, not me, I like to have umpteen spindles going at once. This is how I can accomplish this with my new wheel - have changeable spindles.

Spindle holder #3 is going to feature leather straps in a similar construction. I'm going to drill holes through and through, and thread the leather through the holes, and in this way, the strap will be adjustable to the diameter of the spindle, but so far, it's still in my head and not yet on my spinning wheel, lol. Spindle holder #3 is also going to be a tiny bit taller. Each of the prototypes have gotten progressively taller, and I think that having the spindle at about the same height as the axle of the wheel will be just about right. I think that I'm going to experiment with having the wheel just a tad bit lower, too.

This shows how I wedged the mayo lid onto the knitting needle, using a bit of rubber band to hold it still. It works great. I drilled the hole into the mayo lid with a needle point drill bit. I just aimed the needle into the little nipple which is in the middle of the underside of the mayo lid. Perfectly centered! Easy! Yay!

The mayo lid works perfectly. The zip ties on the spindle are to hold the band in place and to keep the spindle centered how I like it. They aren't completely necessary because if the wheel is lined up, then the whole shebang should stay aligned, but focus on the word, "should" and keep in mind that...well... things get a little crooked and life happens, lol. The zip ties really help.

I just love this type of wheel! Spinning with it is a lot like dancing.

Stay tuned for future improvements!

This added on October 15, 2008 - see the latest improvements to my Bicycle Wheel Spinning Contraption here - - Blog Post, "Odds and Ends"

Please, if you build your own, send me an email with a link to your pix? I'd love to see your inventions! My email is in my profile. Please, put something indicative in your subject line. If your subject line says, "hi," then I'm pretty certain to delete it. Thanks so much!