The Spinning Wheel Shimmy

I think as knitters and spinners we enjoy and to some extent take for granted our low-tech tools. Barring personal injury, our sticks and string and spindles and fiber are going to work — even our spinning wheels which are comparably complex are still pretty simple machines. None of the above requires electricity or any special ingredient beyond a little patience and the desire to create. It’s a fact that makes the fiber arts incredibly accessible. I also think that in today’s day and age there’s something quite valuable in taking part in a pastime that requires you, at least to an extent, to unplug — instead of the other way around. Personally, I think it’s just plain good for the soul.

As is often the case in the early morning, this Saturday morn I was at my wheel spinning away on my polwarth + silk Heart of Hearts from Three Waters Farm. If you’ll remember from last week, I replaced my wheel’s footman connectors.

img_2488While they definitely felt better when spinning and they no longer made a creaking noise while I treadled, a little clicking noise had materialized. Now it was the kind of situation — I’m sure you know it well — where you fix one thing that was making a noise and then you can’t remember if the new noise you’re hearing is an actual normal working noise that you’d forgotten about because of the noise you just fixed or some new problem. It didn’t help that I had some insecurity about my repair. If there’s one complaint I have about my Lendrum DT — and really this is the only thing I’d change about it — it’s that there really is not a lot of information readily available online on maintenance for it. I admit my google-fu is not strong, but I’ve searched high and low as best I can and come up with next to nothing. Thankfully, it’s a very simply built wheel and there just isn’t a lot that goes wrong with them. In any case, I isolated the clicking and from what I saw I thought it would be ok. I resolved to just keep spinning.

I spun along…

img_2546And everything was fine.

And then the wheel started to shake when I got up to speed.

At first I tried to convince myself that it was because I was using my fast flyer. It was just that I was spinning so fast. But, you know, I’m not really a super fast spinner. I checked and tightened a couple things and still my spinning wheel did the spinning wheel shimmy.

Suddenly I was terrified to touch it. What if I’d done the connectors wrong and it was out of balance? What if that clicking was destroying my wheel? Fear. Panic. Dread. It all started to set in.

It was a little after 10am and I knew the shop where I bought my wheel was open. I briefly considered waiting to have it looked at in case it miraculously stopped shaking, but decided I’d be better off driving the 25minutes to get it checked out than waiting and possibly damaging it. After calling to confirm they were open and would be able to take a look at it, I gathered the wheel & the kids and we made the trek to Susan’s Fiber Shop. Thankfully, they were able to look it over right away. Thankfully, it was just a matter of tightening a couple bolts & screws. Thankfully, I’d done a fine job with the footman connectors. Thankfully, I was able to take it home right away.

And now, all the beautiful pieces and parts are running smoothly…

img_2562Good as new & just as pretty as the day I first set her up.


(Don’t mind the heaps and buckets of fiber in the background)

And last night after some epic foursquare with the mister & kids, I spun like the wind once again.

img_2554And all is right with the world once again.

22 thoughts on “The Spinning Wheel Shimmy”

  1. Mine just took a little mink oil on the leather Irish tension tingamabob (a Louet) to be right with the world, although it was just a squeak. What beautiful colored fiber. How do you like spinning with the Polwarth/Silk? I’m afraid to delve into my “fancy” colorful braids since I’m still so new to this. Just working on my long wool. 12 ounces is a lot.

    1. So glad yours was a simple ‘add oil’ situation!

      I LOVE spinning with the polwarth/silk. I actually know a spinner who almost gave up on spinning until she started spinning silk blends. It’s all just a matter of personal preference. I’d say the sooner you give the silk blends a chance, the sooner you’ll be spinning them comfortably. When you decide to take the leap, just take your time & don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂

      12oz is a lot! But I have all three bobbins of singles done — phew!

      1. I don’t tend to get more than 8oz – there are a few exceptions to that rule, but generally my attention span stops around 8oz. Lately, I’ve been partial to 8oz per project for greater yardage, but I can do a lot of great stuff with 4oz, too. So, long story short – 4 or 8oz is normal for me depending on budget, color, type of fiber, and my vision for the project.

  2. Love your mechanical skills! I grew up with a dad who could fix anything and followed him around, “helping”, all the time. The result is that I’m pretty mechanical too. My husband always worries that I won’t do it ‘right’, though, so the easiest way to get something fixed at my house is to start fixing it myself! 🙂 So glad your wheel got fixed quickly. Lucky to have a local shop for help!

    1. My dad is the same way! I used to try to fix a lot more things around the house. As I’m getting a little older, though, I’m tending to defer to professionals more often. I still tend to manage the things that don’t involve electricity or water (me + plumbing have taken an unfortunate turn in the last couple years), but that’s all!

  3. Hooray for smoothly working spinning wheels.

    There’s a tiny squeak on mine, but that’s from my Wolee Winder. When my wheel arrived, I did the assembled it (wasn’t much to do) and I took my time and to check it out, just to familiarize myself with my new wheel. I have the Kromski Sonata. I love my travel wheel! I’m already thinking of a “stay at home” wheel. Ruth, what I have named my Sonata, has already traveled with me… twice.

    I’m a new spinner. Tomorrow, I will have had my wheel for a month. I have started to collect the replacement parts,” like the drive bands (two, one in purple and the other black) and I guess it would be nice to get and extra hook thingamadoodle… but I think I’ll make my own. I make jewelry and have plenty of wire and beads. I want to design one that’s fancy.

    As always, your yarn is lovely and so thin! How long have you been spinning?

    1. The Sonata is a beautiful wheel — congratulations! I didn’t realize Kromski made a travel wheel — that’s very cool. I love that I can travel with my Lendrum. I dream about a second wheel, too, but as yet I don’t have the space for it — my wheel does everything I need it to as well, so it would be hard to justify at the moment — lol!

      I’ve been spinning for about 5 and a half years, but the first couple years I didn’t do a ton with it. It’s just been the last 2 or so — and especially the last 6-8months — that I’ve really started to dig in.

  4. I am so glad it was nothing, and that you did your repair perfectly. A shame that there isn’t more available online as to maintenance. I love that yarn you are working on, as well as the pile of fiber behind it. 🙂 I agree with Opal – that yarn is so nice and fine! I have not yet done more than oil the borrowed wheel, and run yarn through it to make sure all spins fine. Haven’t spun anything yet, but I am getting my head and resources ready to make a big push. 🙂

    1. I’m glad, too! It could totally be my own poor google-fu, but I was only able to find one random blog post on the footman connectors. In addition to the shop where I took it, I’ve called The Woolery with questions and everyone is always very helpful. It would just be nice to have the visual as I’m doing these things. Thankfully, I don’t think there’s much else that could go wrong!

      Oh, I’m looking forward to your spinning adventures! With all the lovely shawls you knit, adding handspun into the mix would be fantastic!

      1. I am surprised the Woolery hasn’t sent you a maintenance manual yet. 🙂

        I am looking forward to spinning, too – and hope I can soon master lace weight spinning, as that is what I seem to gravitate towards…

  5. Beautiful singles! I dropped my wheel and hurt it. I also had to take it home to the shop I bought it at for first aide. A couple replacement parts, some attention from Maggie Casey (of Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins) and he was good to go again. How lucky they are simple machines!

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear your wheel was injured, but I’m so glad it got some TLC and is all a-ok now! Gotta love that good old-fashioned simplicity!

  6. Hooray! I recently replaced the connector on my Ashford wheel with no ill after-effects. Good thing, too, because I’m such a wheel-spinning newbie that I probably would have put it away for months if something had gone wrong.

    1. Yay! Kudos to you! I was so concerned I’d caused the issues, but he assured me the two issues were unrelated so I need not worry about changing the connectors next time. I probably won’t wait so long though – the difference between old and new is worlds apart!

  7. FWIW, the Lendrum group on Ravelry has some helpful info in the thread archives about wheel maintenance, next time you hear a funny noise! I find mine kind of shakes a bit with the faster flyers, too.

  8. It’s good to hear that the shimmy was an easy fix and you are back to spinning.
    I expect to spinning wheel shop toward the end of May. My problem is not being able to find a shop within a reasonable drive.

      1. There are 2 fiber festivals that I know of, both under 2 hour drives. I was going to look up the dates when I saw your reply. Thank you. I would like to try it before I buy.

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