Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Curious Case of the Hand Spinner

I get emails from the Yahoo Spin-List Group . Yesterday, a very interesting email was posted by Joan Henderson. She lives in Mississippi. A member of her local guild came into posession of a device that appears to be some sort of spinner with a flyer and bobbin, but instead of a drive wheel, it has handles for rotating the flyer by hand cranking.

What’s weird, however, is that it’s quite unclear how the yarn is supposed to be wound onto the bobbin. Here is what Joan initially posted:

“A fellow guild member has a piece of equipment that we are trying to use. It appears to be a hand spinner, similar to a kick spindle, but is equipped with a flyer and bobbin. I spin on both spindles and wheels and am pretty mechanical but this has me puzzled. I have pictures of the equipment on my flicker account,
Could any of you please look at the pictures and see if you can help? I can put it together but cannot find a way to wind on the yarn to the bobbin. The bobbin has yarn on it, not sure if the bobbin is original to the piece. It will spin great, but I can't find/fathom a way to make the bobbin stationary or reversed to wind the yarn. All pieces move together at the same time/rate, either direction. I am looking for ideas. Not sure when it was built, but the nameplate on it says it was built by Dempsey Perkins and I know he lives/lived in Louisiana."

Do look at her photos (click on her flicker link above). I am stumped. The responses that Joan got from the Spin-List all suggest that there must be some way of braking or retarding the bobbin to get some yarn take up.

Here is some more info that Joan sent me today, “I think the hole in the bobbin is significant but not sure how. The bobbin rotates freely when spun but goes with the flyer when the hand wheel is turned. There does not appear to be a place to use a brake band or any kind of restriction to the bobbin. I thought maybe something that would drop over the bolt head and go into the hole but the bolt head also turns. A spring attached to the hole and then ? might work but would have a limited distance for wind on. The yarn can be hand wound onto the bobbin but it is slow since you only have half the flyer to move it. I will continue to bounce ideas with you if you have others. I tried a piece of leather between the bobbin and bolt head and also a spring between the front of the bobbin and the flyer but since everything turns that didn't brake anything enough for wind on either.”

Do you have any ideas as to how this tool is meant to be used for spinning yarn? Let me know.

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