I’ll confess…I am hooked. I adore spinning fiber into yarn. It’s a meditative thing that leaves me calm and happy. But how to feed this obsession? I find the handspinning drop spindle laborious, and don’t have an extra $400-900 for a spinning wheel. I don’t need a work of art; I just need to feed my new fiber obsession!
There are several industrial-looking spinning wheels by Babe, with cheaper PVC frames. One has a treadle. They are still $200-240 each. But they are basically the stripped down version of an artsy wooden wheel.
Looking online, I found several projects that created spinning wheels using bike tires. These spun onto a long piece of metal, called a spindle, instead of the flyer and bobbin that are common on the modern wheels. Here’s how to build a spinning wheel from a bike tire from Rosemaryknits.blogspot.com (Thanks!). There is a link at the bottom for her second generation model, and what changes she made, and why. Rosemary seemed to really futz around with it until it worked. (I may try this one.) This second plan for a bicycle spinning wheel has a PVC pipe frame. A book called Foxfire2 from the 1960′s talks about how to make a spinning wheel, and you can read it online. (Although I had a little trouble with the reader software.)
Amazon Store with Spinning Wheels, Drive Bands, and raw fiber (aka - roving)!
Here are FREE spinning wheel woodworking plans from Craftsmanspace.com. It’s the real deal – they include a treadle (foot peddle), bobbin and flyer assembly. They look great – I just don’t think I have the woodworking tools beyond a drill and hammer. Measurements are in metric and inches. This might be doable if one omits the fancy lathe work on the frame.
I also found several paid plans for homemade wooden spinning wheels from Wollery.com, Craft Designs.com.uk, and elsewhere:
Pretty great homemade wheel plans from a blog “ReluctantOrdinand”. This wheel is made from plywood mainly.
Schneider’s No Lathe spinning wheel plans for Saxony wheel ($9 US)
Schneiders Lathe spinning wheel plans for castle type spinning wheel ($9 US)
CraftDesigns.co.uk – $26-28 US for several different styles, including castle and Saxony, and Old English. The advantage here is that the man will sell you the metal parts for $92 US if you need them. (click on “plan prices”)
Woodworking plans for a Saxony Wheel ($14 US)
Here are several drawings of differnt types of spinning wheels through history. This is handy in seeing the older spindle type (without flyer and bobbin). I have been thinking about these, and how to make something using a bicycle tire.
There are also some crazy plans out there for electric spinning wheels. DreamingRobots.com makes a kit for an electric spinning wheel. It comes either assembled for $240 or disassembled for $130. It kind of makes sense, although something in me rebels, longing for the non-electic low tech art. I think its the treadling with the feet that makes it soothing.
Another electric spinning wheel from Hansen Crafts.com includes different choices of woods. The advantage here is portability. However, the prices are as high as a traditional spinning wheel ($600!). I am looking for a lower cost solution, not the same $400 and up for a traditional spinning wheel.
Well, there you have it. I think I’m going to try the bicycle wheel route for now from Rosemaryknits.blogspot.com, and try to incorporate a bobbin and flyer onto it somehow, or try the plans from ReluctantOrdinand. Wish me luck!