A Do-It-Yourself Spinning Wheel

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Used for centuries, spinning wheels are tools which twist raw fibers into thread for knitting, sewing and textile production. All spinning wheels have a bobbin and a flyer. The flyer twists the yarn onto the bobbin. There are several types of wheels varying in shape, size and function. On non-electric machines, the big wheel makes the flyer spin faster, so electric wheels are much smaller because the power eliminates the need for a big wheel. Spinning wheels can be expensive, so some choose to build their own wheels from scrap materials you can find around the house.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC Pipe
  • Handsaw
  • 4 PVC caps
  • Small table
  • Size 11 knitting needle
  • 26-inch bicycle rim
  • 2-inch pulley
  • Wood glue
  • Tape
  • Power drill
  • Cut four pieces of PVC pipe with the handsaw 16 inches long. Mark the location of the PVC pipes on the table with a pencil. Starting at the short edge of the table, mark the middle then make two marks on each side 1 1/2 inches from the middle. Measure in from the edge 4 inches and mark. Place the first two pieces of PVC pipe on these marks, 1 1/2 inches from the middle and 4 inches in from the edge. Glue in place.

  • Measure from the two pieces of PVC pipe 26 inches down the length of the table. Make sure the two marks are still each 1 1/2 inches from the center. Place the other two PVC pipes on the marks and glue in place. Put a PVC cap on each pipe.

  • Make a mark on the front PVC pipes for the pulley. Measure down 2 inches on the side of the pipe and make a mark. Repeat for the other side. Make sure the marks are even and level. Drill a hole all the way through both pipes. Insert the knitting needle into the holes on the first pipe, slide on the pulley and slide the needle through the other pipe. Wrap tape around the ends of the needle to prevent it from sliding back through. Center the pulley on the needle and glue in place.

  • Repeat Step 3 for the two back PVC pipes. This time, do not drill all the way through the pipe. Only make the hole on the inside of the pipe. Place the bicycle rim in the two holes and glue in place. Spin the wheel to make sure it spins freely.

  • Run the cotton cording around the rim and the pulley and tie tightly. Practice spinning on your new wheel. Spin the wheel with one hand and thread the fibers through the pulley with the other. It may take several tries to get the tension just right.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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