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Monday, May 30, 2011

So Much More Than Yarn

A little while ago, knitting and I made our break-up official. Consequently, I've been doing a lot of spinning (more on what I've been making on Friday- and yes, that does mean my blog is returning to it's normal posting schedule). I spin with a spindle, which I love, but the problem with spindle spinning is that it can be, well, a bit slow going.

One day, while spinning,  I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a self-winding spindle. Then I remember, oh, yes, they do makes those- it's called a wheel. Truth be told, for the past year I've been somewhat obsessed with the idea of getting wheel (I may or may not have made a picture of the wheel I wanted as a desktop picture). Problem is, wheels cost money. A lot of money. Like $300 for a cheap one. And I'm a starving grad student. So I finally came to terms with the fact that I'm going to spindle-spinner for a while.

Then my neighbor started repairing a couple of bicycles. And had to get new wheels for one of them. And left the old wheels sitting on the porch we share. And I started thinking. And sketching. And thinking some more.

Then I went to Lowes. And bought some PVC piping. And some spray paint. And...

I present "Spark" (named inspired by one of my favourite webcomics). It's not finished yet, though since I took this picture I've added a set up for scotch tension, which is how you control the rotation of the bobbin. I still need to figure out a treadle system, however, and may end up using the back wheel of the bike with the chain. But, it does work. And not counting the flyer and bobbin (the complicated looking wooden piece at the top) which I bought, the whole thing cost me less than $10. Can't beat that.

Guess I can be crafty with more than just me needles :)

P.S. Once I have the treadle worked out, I'll be posting directions, if you want to build your own.  


Anonymous said...

split a bit of pvc the same angles as the spokes on the bike. leaving an inch or two. drill a hole in the uncut part of the pvc. make sure you have clearance over the hub. connect foot peddle to pvc by either a rod or string. epoxy splits to spokes.... easy.

Anonymous said...

So...did you ever finish your wheel? It looks wonderful! I'm wanting to build my own, and I reallly do like what you have pictured so far!

Anonymous said...

I really like what you have so far. Did you finish? If so where can I find the instructions? I've been looking at various builds and like this one! It's lovely.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry if there are 'several' posts. I can't tell if it's posted my comments! Have you completed your wheel? If so, may I have a copy of the instructions? I've been looking at various builds and yours tops them all!

The Nerdy Housewife said...

This is brilliant, not only because of the Girl Genius reference (FOR SCIENCE!), but because I've been thinking of doing something similar- I can't belive that my great-great-great-great grandmother would have spent as much for a spinning wheel as they're asking for in craft stores today, and honestly I cannot figure out what the heck would make them so freaking expensive. There's some other bike tire spinning wheels with a treadle- basically, you poke a hole in the inner rim, attach a bit of L- shaped wire, and then attach that to a stick, which is, in turn, attached to a pedal. There's good pictures out there, it looks do-able with a coat hanger, a bit of broomstick, and a bit of scrap wood for a petal. I'm so inspired by what you've done, that my crazy idea is possible, too!

Christina said...

Did you ever get the plans drawn up?

Kimberley Murrow said...

to get more friction in the wheel channel, some people have taken the tube from the old tire tube and cut a long strip lengthwise and then glued that all the way around the inside of the channel. The rubber creates friction against the string you use to turn the wheel and bobbin. I tried to find the link that demonstrated this because my directions are wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey. Sorry.

Ages past women didn't always use a foot treadle but just gave the wheel a spin with their hand.

at the 13:40 mark you can see a demonstration of this

love your wheel!