Thursday, May 04, 2006

McGyver is at it again

Lately I've been thinking about electric spinners - mainly because spinning cotton on my louet is driving me bonkers - for cotton you need to spin fast and have very little take up or pull on your yarn. I could go and buy a high speed spinning kit (I probably will) or I was thinking a smaller electric wheel would be nice, like the Roberta (faint, swoon) But over $750 is just not in my budget!

This is where the cheap-ass-make-use-of-what's-lying-around-the-house skills come in. I do have the bulky babes spinner - which is great but if I want to spin finely I really don't want to use a bobbin which holds 2 lbs of fiber. I took the motor and foot pedal from the babes and connected it to the louet like so -

And guess what? It works like a charm! And it goes fast fast fast - max is about 7,000 RPM's. I was able to spin some cotton on it and also some really fine lace weight merino. The only problem with this is that I was doing this at about midnight (yeah I'm loopy like that) and E had already gone to sleep, so I didn't want to make much noise. And as many of you know who have sewing machines - they aren't exactly quiet. In addition, while the foot pedal is great and allows me start and stop hands free, it's hard to keep the wheel spinning at a steady speed. Any slight variation in pressure from your foot will either speed it up or slow it down and this isn't the best when you want to try and get a very even fine single. So I was looking around to see what other kind of motor I had in the house and Viola! I found one. I pulled out my little quiet Dremel tool it's powerfuland can go up to about 20,000 RPM's and it's variable speed so I can go slow or fast with a change of the little speed indicator (although I do have to then disrupt spinning and use my hand to turn it up or down). Since I don't have a proper vise, I used a clamp from a pasta machine (from my polymer clay days) and a wooden board to secure the dremel to. Here it is -

It also works well and much more quiet. I'm thinking of buying a mother of all and flyer kit and mounting them on a board along with some kind of motor to make my own smaller electric wheel - maybe one which uses the louet bobbins I already have. Either that, or save up for the Roberta...hmmmm

I thought you all would get a kick out of my craziness!