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Craft Spinning Wheels

For those who grew up with the story of Rumpelstiltskin, spinning wheels may evoke images of long golden threads. For others, they may bring back memories or oral history of older relatives and ancestors gently rocking away, foot on the pedal, working with raw wool straight from the shearing shed to create yarn. Invented in the East in the early middle ages, various cultures around the world have used spinning wheels ever since. Used nowadays is by crafters or hobbyists keen to keep older traditions alive with manual or electrical designs. Vintage spinning wheels are also an interesting decorative furniture piece in homes.

Manual Spinning Wheels

A manual upright spinning wheel with a large drive wheel, a foot treadle (or two), bobbins, spools, and thread on legs is what you usually picture when thinking of a spinning wheel. This is the most common design, and this shape and many variations are still in production for a hand spinner’s use around the world. Australians have made beautifully crafted spinning wheels over the years. Australian brands include Ettrick, Sheridan and Sinkinger. Two New Zealand brands often seen in Australia are Ashford and Majacraft. Wheels are available in traditional floor, tabletop, portable travel configurations.

Electric Spinning Wheels

Portable electric spinning wheels, or e-spinners, can be a good option for those new to spinning or anyone who may have difficulty operating foot pedals. Because a power source (electricity or rechargeable batteries) replaces your footwork on the treadle, you can focus on your handwork and feed raw fibre or wool through the guides. Electric spinning wheels are also great for anyone who travels a lot, or who demonstrate the art of spinning at craft shows. In addition, due to their faster speed, you can produce a lot more ready to use yarn or thread in much less time!

Accessories for Spinning Wheels

Accessories and other spinning supplies you may need for working spinning wheels include bobbins, big and small, for winding and storing yarns and thread and of course spindles. Use Lazy Kate’s for combing thread and yarn to make different plies and colour combinations. Obtain a maintenance kit with oil, polish and spare springs, hooks drive bands and clips. Consider books to provide inspiration and guidance on techniques. Of course, don’t forget a chair of the right height and position, to sit comfortably and enjoy your creative endeavours.

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