Saturday, 30 January 2010

Antique Spinning Wheel (part 3)

Just before Christmas the first prototype bobbin made by Mike Williams for my antique spinning wheel was ready to test.

We calculated the diameter for the flyer whorl based on information in Alden Amos's "Big Book of Handspinning" which is the only book on handspinning I have found which addresses the mechanics of how spinning wheel works. Mr Amos writes extensively on the subject of "Differential rotational speed", which is the difference between the speed between the flyer and the bobbin. We also had the aid of fellow Online Guild member and European spinning wheel historian, Sigrid Vogt, on the minimum difference between flyer whorl and bobbin whorl ratio that is necessary on a double drive wheel to ensure that yarn will wind on to the bobbin - this minimum ratio is 1:1.2.

There's the proof that the bobbin fits the flyer beautifully and spins well! It also looks right to my eye, nicely proportioned and the beech wood we chose has a warm tone that suits this wheel.

The heavy snows at Christmas and New Year led to road closures across the Peak District, and for several weeks I was unable to take the prototype and flyer back to Mike for him to make matching bobbins to fit. In the end, Mike made prepared the 3 extra bobbins and just waited for the original parts before turning the curved bobbin ends and reaming out the brass bearings to fit the flyer shaft (the shaft is a non-standard size).

Last week I got the flyer and bobbins to Mike, at the start of this week my bobbins were ready to collect. Here they are!

I tied green cotton leader threads on them, to match the emerald green feather I use for a threading hook. This tip from Shetland spinner and knitter Liz Lovick is very useful, as the orifice on this old spinning wheel at 7 mm is much smaller than modern wheels and using a hook would be fiddly.

Here are some close ups so you can see just how lovely the bobbins are.

Just a little note on another topic altogether -

When I started this blog, Thursday 6th July 2007 I nearly gave up before the first post was published when I discovered I could not upload photographs to Blogger. In determined desparation I saved my photos for the second post onto a floppy disk and went along to the local library to upload them for my second post (on dye plants).

Ever since, until today, all my photos have been uploaded at the local public library, which has been difficult as they open part time on odd mornings and afternoons.

Following a recent upgrade to our router software we were aware that there were some different firewall options and thought it was worth seeing if one of the settings could make a difference. As I didn't understand the settings, I went to the router manufacturer's home page to see if I could contact someone. I found a help forum, and there I found someone else asking about the exact same problem ... and the answer! It's a setting to block non-http connections. I still can't upload to Yahoo groups or Ravelry, that's because for a reason I haven't fathomed I can't download the latest Flash player for Linux, it causes my browser to hang.

For the first time I have composed a post for my blog, with photos, without having to wait for the library to open and booking one of their computers.

I'm sure I shall find other excuses to pop in and see the friendly library staff who I have got to know well as they also get a lot of books in for me (which I can request from the county library catalogue Online).

Will this mean more blog posts, more photos? I don't know, it's a new way of working, let's see....

Note for Meg: thanks very much for your help with hosting my scarf photo, I just uploaded it now so the link is no longer needed ;)


peahen said...

An enjoyable read once again - lots of detail and lots of photos. It's good to see that commissioning some bespoke bobbins has worked out so well. There's something special about using and old wheel, isn't there? Yours is obviously working really well.

Lesley said...

Those bobbins are beautiful Dot and the whole project is a real credit to you and Mike. What a great feeling of continuity from original user of that wheel through to yourself.

Lynnette said...

I really enjoed your blog today, great photos and the bobbins are truly a credit to their maker!

I too am a collector of, in my case vintage, but not antique, wheels. I wish there was someone I could go to for repairs and parts locally. I have a wonderfully weird Manitoba sifton chair wheel desperately in need; ah well, perhaps someday!

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
What a wonderful job Mike Williams has done with the bobbins. They are beautiful and fit so well
We still haven't managed Fritchley because of the bad weather
Will try the feather idea !
Look forward to loads more photos !

Anonymous said...

The way you describe your spinning experience is just wonderful. I learned on a drop spindle and every time I read your posts and see the pictures I'm inspired to one day use the wheel. Thank you, Dot, and I'm glad you don't have to travel anymore to be able to upload your photos!


Cindy said...

Wow, those bobbins are beautiful!

Meg in Nelson said...

Yay, cheers to convenience right at home!

Life Looms Large said...

That's great that you could find some one to do such a beautiful job making parts for your wheel!!

Yay for being able to upload from home!!! Technology is so baffling sometimes - but so great when it works!


Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

So how can I get some of those wonderful bobbins made to fit my spinning wheel?! I have one bobbin that came with it, but it is broken too badly to fix!

Dorothy said...

You can contact Mike via his web website,