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SPINNING BASICS: Tools to Spin With: Spindle Spinning Wheels
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Dec 5, 2013 17:33:21   #
IndigoSpinner (a regular here)
 
There are two basic types of spinning wheels: spindle wheels and flyer-and-bobbin wheels (also called treadly wheels).

A spindle wheel is a wheel that has a spindle almost exactly like a support spindle, but it's driven by a wheel.

There are a lot of different kinds of spindle wheels. The first ones invented were in the East and where called Charkas, which is the Sanskrit word for "wheel." They were similar to this kind of a wheel: http://www.woolery.com/Store/pc/Ashford-Charkha-c105.htm

There are also small, folding charkas that fold up into a hardback book size and shape (usually called a book charka), and larger versions called brief case charkas, etc.

The spindle wheels that you'll see most often are called great wheels, walking wheels and wool wheels.

They are all basically a spindle that has support, and that is driven by a wheel that is usually turned by hand, not by a treadle.

This is the kind of wheel that sleeping beauty ran afoul of. Spindle wheels got a lot more use than spindles did, once they were introduced, and they frequently had spindles that were metal. The amount of use that they got, over a period of time, tended to sharpen the tip of the spindle until it was really dangerous. Add that to the fact that sheep go out and play everyday in the dirt (you know, the stuff that has a lot of tetanus organisms), and it's no wonder sleeping beauty could get seriously hurt on that wheel!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_wheel

Wikipedia has a whole collection of photos of different kinds of wheels and lots more information. I'm going to do more articles about treadle wheels, but you can read ahead here.

Great wheels were called that because they have a large wheel. The name walking wheel came from the fact that a spinner would have to stand, and would usually walk to spin a longer thread before she went back to wind it onto the spindle. The name wool wheel comes from the fact that the larger spindle wheels were made to spin wool, and had lower ratios, which was just what was needed to spin wool.

When a spinner refers to ratios in connection with a wheel, it tells you how many twists the wheel adds to the singles being spun for each revolution of the wheel.

Most of the charkas were built with the intention of spinning cotton, so they had higher ratios. To give you a better idea, the bottom ratio for treadle wheels will give you 3-1/2 twists per one revolution of the wheel, where the top end is more like 22:1. But some of the charkas would give you more like 36:1 to really add a lot of twist fast.

With almost every spindle wheel, you'll find a wheel with a drive cord. The drive cord will drive a whorl, and sometimes they have several whorls close together with different diameters so you can make the spindle go faster or slower to suit you by changing which whorl the drive cord is on. Some charkas have an accelerator where the wheel turns a whorl on an axle with another whorl that has a drive cord that drives the whorl on the actual spindle. This is usually called a Minor head, after the gentleman who invented it, and it's a way to get more revolutions out of the spindle for each revolution of the wheel.

Some of the book charkas and similar ones are more complicated because they have extra parts that allow them to fold, but this covers the basics of spindle wheels.
 
Dec 5, 2013 18:05:58   #
MrsMurdog
 
Like learning a new language!
Dec 5, 2013 19:39:14   #
deemail (a regular here)
 
have saved....thank you so much...this is clear and concise and full of real info..
Dec 6, 2013 09:01:59   #
Pam in LR
 
Thanks! It's a fabulous explanation. Can't wait to read about the treadleys!
Dec 6, 2013 10:00:52   #
luvs2knit50
 
Would love to have info on drop spindles as I just purchased one to learn on. It suggests starting with a short, already spun section. How do I get that if I don't have any roving that is already spun? I do have an antique great wheel which I would love to use sometime. It was given to me years ago and is in need of repairs & a spindle mechanism. I will be watching this site quite closely. You have already shared lots of good info. Thanks so very much. The itch won't get scratched until after Christmas, but I want to mess with this once winter really sets in.
Dec 6, 2013 10:03:24   #
Jomoyach
 
Thanks Lostarts , great info and nicely written. Love learning about spinning.
 
Dec 6, 2013 10:12:56   #
crafterwantabe (a regular here)
 
This information is very helpfull... I keeping thinking I would love to get into... I have noticed flax spinning wheels???? Can you do yarn on those? Thanks again mary
Dec 6, 2013 10:45:12   #
Linda6885 (a regular here)
 
Wonderful information. I have been struggling with my yarn having too much twist. With reading your post, I realized I can change the band on the wheel which would change the number of revolutions and thus change how much twist. When I tried spinning a little I immediately noticed the draw onto the spindle is faster. I am also trying to treadle slower. Can you give more information on how to put less twist in the yarn? I want the yarn I make a lofty DK single if I can manage it.
Dec 6, 2013 11:55:28   #
northwool
 
Hi! You can use commercially spun yarn, preferably wool because the fibers will catch the wool easier.
Dec 6, 2013 12:06:01   #
GrandmaNona
 
luvs2knit50 wrote:
Would love to have info on drop spindles as I just purchased one to learn on. It suggests starting with a short, already spun section. How do I get that if I don't have any roving that is already spun? I do have an antique great wheel which I would love to use sometime. It was given to me years ago and is in need of repairs & a spindle mechanism. I will be watching this site quite closely. You have already shared lots of good info. Thanks so very much. The itch won't get scratched until after Christmas, but I want to mess with this once winter really sets in.
Would love to have info on drop spindles as I just... (show quote)


Start with a short section of commercial wool yarn. Your roving should catch onto the starting section and allow you to work your own yarn from there. When your spindle is full, you wind your yarn off of the spindle leaving the starting section attached to the spindle and ready to spin your next hank of yarn. I hope these instructions are clear and help you.
Dec 6, 2013 13:04:51   #
dragonflylace
 
thanks Lostarts....I now have a 14 page booklet I am making of your instructions!!!
 
Dec 6, 2013 13:32:39   #
IndigoSpinner (a regular here)
 
luvs2knit50 wrote:
Would love to have info on drop spindles as I just purchased one to learn on. It suggests starting with a short, already spun section. How do I get that if I don't have any roving that is already spun? I do have an antique great wheel which I would love to use sometime. It was given to me years ago and is in need of repairs & a spindle mechanism. I will be watching this site quite closely. You have already shared lots of good info. Thanks so very much. The itch won't get scratched until after Christmas, but I want to mess with this once winter really sets in.
Would love to have info on drop spindles as I just... (show quote)


If you search for SPINNING BASICS, you'll find that I already put up info about spindles. I haven't gotten to actually spinning on them yet, though. When I get through all the spinning hardware, I'll get into actually learning to spin.

If you want to learn to spin, though, I would recommend that you learn on a support spindle. See the earlier articles.
Dec 6, 2013 13:55:03   #
Pam in LR
 
Just tie on a yard or so of yarn. I bet you have plenty of that. ;-)
Dec 6, 2013 14:16:51   #
IndigoSpinner (a regular here)
 
When I use commercial yarn for a leader, I usually cut off about twice the length I think I need and knot the ends together, then put a larks head knot over the spindle shaft with one end of the loop.

That leaves a loop that you can catch a bit of the fiber in and add a little twist and start drafting. I do this with both spindles and wheels. You can do the larks head over the center of the bobbin for a wheel.

You can use the same leader over and over. The end of the spun singles is relatively easy to disengage from the loop.
Dec 6, 2013 14:29:19   #
luvs2knit50
 
GrandmaNona wrote:
Start with a short section of commercial wool yarn. Your roving should catch onto the starting section and allow you to work your own yarn from there. When your spindle is full, you wind your yarn off of the spindle leaving the starting section attached to the spindle and ready to spin your next hank of yarn. I hope these instructions are clear and help you.


I never thought of that. THANKS!! I will give that a try.
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