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Winding with Spider

I’m so thrilled with the response to naming looms and other fibre tools…even cars. We take ages to name children so why not looms. I particularly like names that capture those idiosyncrasies and unusual habits of our tools. I’ve started naming everything now.I’d like to name my new winder ‘speedy’ but perhaps this is too aspirational and could stress the little tool out. What about ‘spider’. That has a ring to it and a spider doesn’t seem to stress about its work – it just gets done.

The following photos are of my transition from my old homemade bobbin winder to a newer AVL one. I wanted a bit more versitility in what bobbins I could wind and the AVL winder is great.



My old winder. This was made with a new sewing machine motor and a spindle made by a friend to accomodate the straws I use as bobbins in my boat shuttles. It has worked beautifully for years….and still works…but is nameless. My new AVL electric bobbin winder  – Spider- with a plastic bobbin on it for winding. A spring loaded adjustment device allows easy and quick access to the bobbin and great flexibility in the size and type of bobbin.

winder 3


Here is the AVL winder with one of my straws on it. It fits everything. Here is a secret one. It is a cone shaped piece of wood, made by a friend, which acts as a sleeve for a cardboard cone. Now I can wind cones easily although I have to be careful how I build up yarn on the cone. If I’m not the cone won’t unwind efficently and can become a problem.
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kaz, thankyou! Your timing is impeccable. I’m awaiting delivery of a sectional warp beam and have been spending time trying to think of the best way to wind yarn onto cardboard cones as I don’t want to buy a bobbin rack. I bought a second-hand electric bobbin winder just yesterday, with the thought that there had to be a way to use it to do the job. I’d love to see a photo of a cone youve wound with it.

    Now to prepare a last for inside the cones….especially as I don’t have a lathe to hand at the moment. I had been thinking perhaps a pared-down demijohn cork – they come with a hole in the centre ready-drilled.

    Spider does seem the perfect name for a tireless winder, and implies no snarls!

    October 12, 2008
  2. I have mixed feelings about naming things. A lot of objects in my life do end up with names – my sewing machine and my car, for example – but the anthropomorphism gets me into terrible trouble later on. Our first car was called Jessie (her number plate was JES) and when she final disintegrated and had to be sold for scrap it broke my heart! Furthermore, Stuart does an excellent line in funny voices so when I talk to our appliances, some of them answer back. How can you throw out a broken fan heater when you can hear it muttering? My looms are as yet unnamed, or at least they haven’t told me what their names are….

    October 13, 2008
  3. I think the ability to wind on cones is marvelous. I assume you have to go up and down the cone, back and forth, very quickly? I have a hand cone winder and that is what the yarn does on it. You friend might be able to make some money with his wood cone………

    October 13, 2008
  4. Oooo! A cone winder!!! I am jealous!

    Actually, looking at it has given me an idea about how to wind cones using my bobbin winder – the wooden cone thingy is the key.

    I need to go and talk to my husband…. 🙂

    October 13, 2008
  5. Hi Karen,
    I just got back from tutoring at Fibres West so I’m doing some catch up with everyone’s blogs!
    I name all my looms after their previous owners, my weavebird is Jo-Anne and a few of my other looms names are as follows: Belinda, Dan, Meg & Lucy. I love the name Spider.

    Funny how topics come in waves, this week I was telling my class that while studying George Elliot’s, ‘Silas Marner’ I was inspired to jump head 1st into weaving after reading all the beautiful spider imagery that portrayed the weaver & his surroundings in the town of Raveloe.
    Then today I was listening to some pod casts (weave cast & cast on), again more spider stories and as I was weaving just now, I have been pondering, if we describe a spider spinning & weaving its web as an ‘art form’ why is what we do, described (by others) as a hobby or craft? You would never say “That spiders’ web is a beautiful craft / hobby!”
    I also need to weave to be me. I must blog about this!!!

    October 15, 2008
  6. Karen, you may be interested in visiting my blog to see the approach I’ve taken to making a cone-winding last!

    October 22, 2008

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