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Spinning Yarn:
The Wheels We Use

Spinning Yarn|castleSpinning wheels provide the most convenient and efficient way of twisting fibre into yarn. There is as much design and craftsmanship in each wheel as there is in the yarn they produce.

Today’s spinning wheels are carved and turned of hardwood and used only by craftspeople for handspun yarns. The raw materials for most modern spinning wheels are wood, wood glue, clear lacquer or urethane, and some bits and pieces of metal, primarily used as wire on the wheel. Some spinning wheels have brass fittings.

Hand powered spinning wheels are powered by the spinner turning a crank for flywheel with their hand; these are not as prevalent as the more common Saxony and Castle wheels.

The upright wheel, or Castle wheel, is a popular choice for spinners who want to be able to transport their wheels. These spinning wheels have a characteristic “old world” styling and charm, wanted by today’s spinners. The Castle has an antique look and can have a high degree of wood turning, making it fancy as well as functional.

The Saxony wheel is the most recognized of all the shapes and sizes, its configuration being horizontal and offset. When the larger drive wheel rotates once, it moves the much smaller flyer in the same direction eight times, providing that degree of twist.

There are Single Drive and Double drive wheels, the “drive” referring to the band that joins the wheel to the flyer. Single drive spinning wheels have one string joining the two moving wheels whereas Double drive spinning wheels have one string folded to look like two strings, one on the flyer’s whorl, the other one the bobbin itself.

Spinning Yarn|GeorgeSome spinning wheels are designed to be powered by a single treadle, and therefore a single foot, while others are designed as a double treadle. Double treadle spinning wheels have two pedals and operate using both feet.

There is a continual process of improvement and innovation in design, while retaining the aesthetic appeal of a graceful spinning wheel.

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