spinning wheel

Hi everyone, Just bought an old spinning wheel when I was in Tasmania. I was told it was in working order but I have never used one before. could anyone help me with getting to know my spinning wheel as I would like to start using it. I think it is broken but I have the part that is broken off and I’m not sure what type of spinning wheel it is. thanks in advance. Hellsbells

Hi and welcome!
Can you post a couple of photos of the spinning wheel and the broken part? I’m sure that would help @mullerslanefarm, who will be able to help, I’m sure.

Hope these pictures help with my questions.

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Hey @hellsbells, Congrats on the new wheel.

You have a castle style wheel but I am unsure of who made it.

The flyer arm is broken. That’s not a huge deal. Many wheels are still functional with only one flyer arm. It is highly recommended that you do NOT just glue the arm back on to the flyer.

Spinning with a flyer where an arm is glued on is dangerous! Glue doesn’t always hold well, they dry out over time, etc. Next thing you know, you have a projectile hurled from your wheel that was going a massive rpm.

You will also need to add a couple more hooks on the existing arm so your yarn can load on to the whole bobbin.

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thank you for letting me know what type of spinning wheel I have. The wheel itself has rope on it, is this ok, or should I try to get wire or something. I have noticed that when I use the peddle it is rather stiff and sometimes does not move the flyer arm. Should I oil top and bottom of the peddle arm? Any other suggestions would be most appreciated. I still have the other end of the flyer arm so I can put the hooks from that onto the one that is still attached. :slight_smile: thank you.

Just noticed that on the left of your picture at the top your spindle where you put the thread through is attached by a metal round part, my spindle is just resting on top of a piece of wood with two other smaller wedges to hold the spindle on top of the wood but this is not very secureas I have it tied together with rope. (my second picture). Should I look at doing something there too? thanks Hellsbells.

Take as much apart as will come apart easily and clean any dust off it. Any thing that moves, or has moving parts (likes where the spindle sits, on the drive wheel spindle, on any moving part of the treadle and footman arm), put a couple drops of oil. I use 3-in-1 oil.

Yes, use the hooks from the other flyer arm. If you you access to a drill, drill a starter hole SMALLER that the hook size to help put the hook on the flyer. This not only helps put the hook in, it helps prevent the flyer arm from breaking. Make sure the drill bit you use is teenie tiny.

Concerning the flyer just resting on the upright. Is it jumping when it spins? If not, you don’t need to secure it in any way. By holding it down like that, you are impeding the flyer from spinning freely. Free the flyer!!!

My 3 wheels:

The other end of what you saw in the photo: This is an Ashford Traveller (castle style wheel) with a jumbo flyer/bobbin

A Kromski Sonata (castle style wheel):

An Ashford Elizabeth 30" (Saxony style wheel)

The drive band is fine. It’s only purpose is to transfer energy from the drive wheel to the flyer and whorls.

After oiling and freeing the flyer, your next step is to sit and treadle the wheel.

No, I’m not talking about making it go round and round fast like a fan but a slow and steady treadle with the wheel going in the clockwise direction … one anna two anna one anna two. You’ll want to be able to stop and reverse the direction of the wheel.

Wheel control without thinking, especially being able to stop, is important because as you start putting the various steps of spinning into action (the treadling, the drafting, the yarn take up onto the bobbin), your treadling might get off and the wheel could reverse directions. You’ll want to be able to know how to stop immediately.

I know, I know … you have a wheel and you just want to start spinning!! So many of my spinning students get frustrated with me when I teach wheel control & yarn take up control … but I do it any way … practicing is up to them. Inevitably most tell me that after they frustrate themselves by just jumping in, they spend time practicing wheel & yarn take up control and are able to spin with much less frustration. I don’t teach people “how to spin” (each person has their own way), I teach people how wheels work … spinning is up the them. :smiley:

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Thank you so much for all that information. After putting oil on all the moving parts; I now have the wheel spinning beautifully without the flyer arm attached. I am desperately trying to spin it with the flyer arm attached and that is a bit of a challenge as it does jump around when it spins. I will continue to practice using the tension knob at the back which seems to make it a little easier sometimes. thank you for all that very useful information. Practice, practice, practice. I will be lost to the world for a while until I manage to spin correctly. :wink:

@hellsbells, when the flyer is seated properly, it shouldn’t jump on that side (the wedges should hold it in).

I can’t tell from your pictures if your drive band is two separate bands or one continuous band. It should be one continuous band

If it is two separate bands or if it is stretched out, you’ll want to replace the drive band. A couple cheap and very efficient bands that I’ve used are cotton yarn (like Peaches & Cream) and pony bead lacing (that stretchy plastic used for children’s bead crafting). You can see the green pony bead lacing in the picture of the Ashford Traveller which is set up for a double drive. (I got mine at WalMart). No, it isn’t historically correct, however, it works very well for a double drive since as the bobbin fills you have to make minute adjustments to keep the bobbin filling. Since the pony bead lacing stretches slightly, I’ve found I don’t have to make those adjustments when I’m spinning with it.

Regardless of what type of drive band you use, when you aren’t spinning, take the drive band off the drive wheel. This prevents over stretching the band and extends its life.

The tension knob should raise and lower the flyer assembly which tightens/loosens the tension on the drive band. You’ll find that even turning that knob 1/4 a turn will make a huge difference. That knob will be your worst enemy at the beginning and your best friend was you make peace with it.

For right now, put on the flyer/bobbin and find a comfortable tension where you can treadle slowly and deliberately. If you find yourself getting tense, take a break and come back to it. Practice every day until you don’t have to think about treadling.

After that, I have my students take a ball of cheap, acrylic commercial yarn. Thread the end through the orifice and tie it on to the leader that is attached to the bobbin. (the leader is the yarn you see on my bobbins).

The ‘lesson’ is two-fold. You will be playing with the tension knob to see how much you have to move it to change the take up on to the bobbin AND you will learn the feeling of fiber going through your hands. Another of the common mistakes made by new spinners is holding on to the spun yarn and not allowing it to go on to the bobbin. They increase the tension thinking that will help but they still fail to ‘let go’ of the yarn in their hands. This exercise will teach you both without ruining fiber since you’ll be working with inexpensive yarn which you can wind off the bobbin and use for this lesson again and again.

Good luck and have fun with your new adventure!! If you have any questions, please tag me.

Thank you again. I have a double as shown in the picture below. (I think, if you are talking about the double band around the wheel) :slight_smile:

as shown on the picture of my spinning wheel, the orifice rests on top and there are two pieces of wood that sit in slots made for them on the maiden. They fit together around the orifice but the pieces of wood move if they are not held together with rope or an elastic band. I have the tension worked out. I will stay on top of it and practice every day. Will let you know how I am going in a week or two. :slight_smile:


If the bobbin assembly is jumping while you spin, you might have to make adjustments to the wooden piece with ‘ears’ so the shaft ‘snaps in’ or replace it with a stiff piece of leather as shown in the last picture of the Ashford wheel you posted.

I’ve taken the liberty of downloading your pictures and making comments.

Please be sure to ‘tag me’ in your responses, otherwise I don’t get the notifications that you’ve replied. (Just enter a @ and the tag names will appear for you to click on)

(The comment in the picture doesn’t fully appear on my screen. It says, “This rectangle piece with ‘ears’ should keep the shaft seated firmly. If it does not, glue it into place. It should not move! You may have to sand down the ‘ears’ so the shaft ‘just’ slips past them.”) Alternately, you can replace the wooden piece with very, very stiff leather.

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From http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/wheel-drives.shtml

Double Drive Wheels
This type of wheel has the flyer whorl and bobbin next to one another on the same side of the spindle. The drive band is doubled and forms a figure eight that loops onto both the bobbin and the flyer whorl. The spinner decides where the drive band is placed on the whorl depending upon the type of yarn to be spun. When spinning, both the flyer and the bobbin are rotated by the drive band. The bobbin whorl is smaller in diameter than the flyer whorl, therefore, it will spin faster than the flyer if there is no brake being used. Because of the high degree of twisting efficiency, beginners who have a problem with over twisting the yarn, will find the double drive wheel difficult to use at first.


Ignore that last line … I started with a wheel that could be used as a double drive or single drive in both a Scotch (flyer-led) & Irish (bobbin-led) tension. I found the double drive the easiest to spin with.