A Spinning Wheel Build in Progress

Here is a mockup of how I’m going to build a replacement spinning wheel. (I did not include the central axis hole because I’m going to have to order replacement bearings. Until I know their dimensions, I’m not worrying about it. [I’ve already figured out I can’t salvage the original bearings w/out destroying the wheel.])

Here is what the original wheel looks like; it’s about 1.5” thick and 12.5” in diameter (back face).

I will use combinations of 1/8” MDF and 1/16” birch solid wood (or clear acrylic) to build up the sections of the wheel; each step-down is a “whorl”. Like gears on a bike, they change the speed at which you put twist into your yarn.

Since there are 5 whorls, the 3rd whorl’s interior design will be the base layer, and the rest of the design will stack toward the outside. The backside and frontside of the wheel will look alike, but will have different diameters. Even so, they will layer perfectly. (In this half-scale design, it only shows 1/3 of the wheel. In reality, that’s how I will have to build it, as my working surface in the laser is only 10.7” x 19.5”.

[There was a sizing error when moving the black layer, so don’t let that distract you.]) [[It’s a tree.]]

Since removing the wheel is a trivial activity (for me), I may make a 2nd wheel that’s lit when I spin, and has a built-in tachometer so I can keep track of my RPM. Correct speed & tension make a consistent yarn.


That is awesome!!! Do you sell your yarn?

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Also, I think I have (or had?) that exact rug. :smiley:

Wow, that’s really cool. I love the tree.

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I don’t sell the yarn yet because locally; I’m surrounded by other spinners, who make their own.

I’m like that lead penguin on the ice shelf, not willing to jump in the water because there’s a leopard seal out there… I do have an Etsy account just waiting for me to stock it and open the store. Ummm, do you have any specific needs? How many yards?


It’s funny, I am like…a need? ahhhh I Need All The Yarn!!! I just need to know if I have a place to get some!


Probably not this rug. This one is 15’x12’ all-wool pile; hand-made in Iran. Truly, a Persian Carpet. I’ve owned it since about 2002 when Iran opened the trade for its rugs for a few years.

This rug weighs almost 200 lbs. Once I have it unrolled, I can “fly” it into place. (I can imagine how the flying carpet myth got started.)


Well, if you need handspun, let’s talk. If you need custom-dyed commercial wool yarn, I can provide that too. There’s always room for yarn!

I know you are still involved in the patent process for your knitting machine. Once you are free to sell it, I want to be in line to get the plans because I’m making yarn right now, to use on it.


Ooh that rug sounds nice.

I believe mine may have been a knock off :wink: but I think it was that exact pattern… although maybe it’s just triggering pattern matching in my monkey brain that isn’t perfect =P


You got it! I have been playing with it every night. I have figured out how to do the chain cast on and purl. Takes a little to get used to but it really is kinda fun to just play with all the different stitches. I will definitely have to do a video because I am not sure I can explain in text and pictures. LOL


@jestelle those particular flowers are a meaningful and therefore oft used motif. I would not be surprised if your rug had them as well. We lived in Iran in the 70s so came home with quite a few rugs, and yup, the design is very familiar! :slight_smile:

@kelley1 (I know bupkis about spinning other than seeing it done) Will you be able to see the tree once it’s complete, or will it be hidden inside? It’s gorgeous! If it’s hidden are you doing it that way for weight distribution or something else?

Also, I have a friend who knits and I would love to hear more about this yarn of yours! She mostly knits in straight wool but I’m allergic to the chemicals they process it with so I’m hands off :frowning: You know, in case you wanted to sell some!


Oh my, I had about 45 Persian carpets until I moved to WA. I had to rehome most of them, but I still have 7 in my tiny house. They are all in the Tabriz-Isfahan family.

My mom and I educated ourselves on details of various rug families. We loved the ‘signed’ rugs. Once, we visited a family-owned rug store in Orlando. Only the adult son (in his mid-20s) was present, the owner & wife were off to lunch. I asked the son what the Arabic script at teh top of one rug meant. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know; maybe good wool?” Mom and I kept a straight face until we got out of the store, then burst out laughing…he couldn’t read the language! (Well, neither could we. :yum:) At least we knew it represented the signature.

Thereafter, “good wool” was our go-to phrase whenever we couldn’t read something. As an inside joke, The Good Wool Company is the tagline of my wool business.

I’ll get off my butt and open my Etsy store. All the wool I use now is hand-dyed by me because I can’t stand chemical residue or bleeding dyes. Some of the wool, I buy from people who bring me their own fleeces for cleaning and carding. I know how chemical-free that wool is.

I’ll PM you this week with more info for your friend.

Oops, let me get around to answering your question: the tree will be seen from both the front adn back of the wheel. when it’s mounted and in use, the small diameter faces me and the large diameter is away from me. The tree design will be visible from both front and back. In the testing phase I’ll know if my design will fully support the wheel under rotational forces. I plan on hiding more structural support in the “trunk”. Since there are a lot of open wheel designs on the market, I think it will be fine.

@jestelle the designs really sing, don’t they? Choosing to have beauty like this in your home makes your living experience so much better.


I love that you make fiber tools. This one is a really neat idea!
What kind of spinning wheel do you have?
I made my great wheel from a bicycle wheel. The wheel itself and some of my spindle whorls were too slippery to work properly so I had to spend lots of time trying to fiddle with them to make them grip the drive band. If you use acrylic, you will probably want to do something to it so the edges are not slippery.
I think rotating your design each level (so your seams are in different places) would probably make it more structurally sound.
I love the idea of making it light up! I have a Zuca bag with light up wheels and it makes me smile every time I use it :slight_smile:
I really look forward to your finished wheel!


I have several wheels; this one is for an original Majacraft Suzie. I’m rebuilding the wheel because it has a heavy weight embedded inside so the wheels settles in one position when not in use. Theoretically, this made it easy to start since the footmen would never be lined up. But they created a massive problem: it takes so much energy to start that depending on your tension and whorl, a backlash occurs (imagine not enough launch energy, so you never escape the earth’s gravity and your rocket crashes back to the ground). Yarn would wind up whipping off the bobbin, over the flyer and wrapped around the flyer’s bobbin shaft. I’d turn the air blue with every vulgar phrase of every language I ever knew.

The acrylic slippage made itself known when I made a Majacraft bobbin from acrylic. it looked cool, but had limited use. The one I made of MDF and cardstock worked fine. I would use acrylic only for the whorl dividers; the drive band would not engage with the acrylic at all.

Other wheels: Majacraft Millie; Kromski Sonata; Spinnolution Queen Bee; a Pocket Wheel; Hansen e-spinner; Electric Eel Nano. Somewhere I have a Babe Pinkie, but it’s so small a child could use it. My size 10s don’t fit on the pedals and my knees knock the thing out of whack. I’ve made a bunch of drop spindles with the laser, as well.

I thought about rotating the design so the seams would not lie one on top of the other. Then I realized the 1/16th" whorl separators, which will not carry the design and really won’t be seen except on edge, can do that job. I’m creating locking inserts for each whorl (cut separately) so the sections are mechanically connected. Glue between each layer will help as well. Depending on how the first prototype performs, I may introduce a pegged insert (0.125" dowels) that will go from front to back and be part of the visible design…or maybe hide the pegs under the outer faces of the wheel.

The whorl separators were manually cut into the original wheel when it was on the lathe. My separators may be wood or acrylic, depending on the effect I want; they help create the thickness of the wheel to keep the whorls lined up like the original. Version 2 will have lights like your Zuka bag’s wheels (I’ve got one too! for the Hansen) and the clear acrylic will let the lite show between the wheels’s whorls.

I really look forward to your finished wheel!

Ha ha, I posted today just so I would have to commit to finishing this wheel this year. I’ll make a video of the finished wheel as soon as I can.


So cool that you spin your own yarn! I am an avid knitter, so I appreciate yarn. Do you sell yours?


Thanks for asking. I will be selling it soon, and I’ll post the Etsy info in my profile link.

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It’s so fun to see more fiber arts items cropping up here. I thought at first that this was a post from @designvh619! Also excited to see your yarn once you get it posted. I don’t do a ton of yarn-based fiber arts, but I’m always open to learning new things.


I do love my Fiber Arts! But this is beyond me. I would love to learn how to spin…just need to find some time fit that in. LOL