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Author: carleneruns

Spinning with my new Autowind Flyer

Spinning with my new Autowind Flyer

I love to spin yarn.  It is my favourite craft and I generally find it very relaxing.  This year my husband got me this fabulous gift – a custom plate for my car.

Woman holding a license plate that says Spin Yarn
My birthday present this year.

Speaking of gifts… recently a friend offered me a tremendous gift of an autowind flyer from Level Wind Systems.  What a generous gift!  I got a flyer for my Majacraft Rose because that is my go to wheel.

2 Majacraft Rose spinning wheels
Majacraft Rose with bulky flyer on left and Majacraft Rose with Overdrive flyer on right

I actually like my Majacraft Rose so much that I have 2 of them, one where I can use the regular and jumbo bobbins, and a second that has a massive Overdrive bobbin and flyer on it.  The Overdrive wheel is great for plying and for spinning bulky yarns.




The autowind flyer has batteries inside the left flyer arm.  When you switch the unit on, the yarn guide slowly moves up and down the right arm.  This results in the yarn filling the bobbin much more evenly.

This is a photo of the same bobbin.  You can see how the singles form a nice rotating layer on the bobbin.

Spinning using the level wind flyer
Spinning with the level wind flyer

I have spun a few skeins now and have discovered a few things.  When I put the flyer on I need to tighten the flyer onto the mandrel of my Majacraft Rose.  However, when I tightened the flyer enough so that it works properly, it was also impinging on the bobbin which made spinning not very nice.  I had to really crank the brake and there was quite a bit of drag.  To fix this I dug out some Plumbers tape (also called thread seal tape) and wrapped it on the flyer mandrel.  Then I installed the flyer.  The tape helps the flyer make a nice snug connection but also leaves the bobbin free to spin.  This resulted in a much nicer spinning experience.

Thread seal tape
Thread seal tape
Wrapping the thread seal tape on the mandrel of my Majacraft Rose
Wrapping the thread seal tape on the mandrel of my Majacraft Rose








Another thing I discovered after using the thread seal tape was that my bobbin was sitting back past where the flyer could nicely wind on the singles.  This resulted in an empty area at the rear of the bobbin.  The singles were collapsing into the empty area which was not very tidy and could lead to tangles later when plying off the bobbin.

First bobbin with singles not filling the rear of the bobbin properly
The singles are winding on, but the rear of the bobbin is partially empty and the singles are collapsing into the space.

To fix this problem when I started spinning the next bobbin I added a simple felt washer behind the bobbin.

Flyer showing a felt washer added behind the bobbin
Flyer showing a felt washer added behind the bobbin

My current project is a pound of dyed fiber from Adele Forward, an Indie Dyer in Dorset, Ontario, Canada.  Adele posts her dyed roving, locks and yarn on Facebook.  Have a look if you are interested in buying some delicious dyed fiber.

Pile of purple roving
Yummy Superwash Merino dyed by Adele Forward
Bag of fibre showing the label Adele Forward
These 1 pound lots come in nice big bags.








This is my progress after spinning 3 bobbins of the same fibre.  You can see bobbin #1 in the upper right (with the slightly empty section at the top/back of the bobbin), bobbin #2 in the upper left (which was spun with the felt washer) and bobbin #3 on the wheel (again spun with a felt washer in place).

Three bobbins spunI have now moved on to plying.  Because I have 3 bobbins of singles plying is a multi-day job.  It took me about 5 hours to fill the first jumbo bobbin with plied yarn. And here are the bobbins after plying up that first big bobbin. There is still lots of singles left to go into the second skein.

Plied yarn on jumbo bobbin with autowind flyer
Plied yarn on jumbo bobbin with autowind flyer


Lazy kate showing 3 bobbins of singles
Lazy kate showing 3 bobbins of singles







And here we are with the second bobbin done and all the yarn wound into skeins.

Bobbin of plied yarn
Second bobbin of plied yarn
Two skeins of purple plied yarn
Two skeins of purple plied yarn (First skein is on the right)








I have to say I love how quiet and helpful the autowind flyer is.  It is a fabulous tool and I am very appreciative of this awesome gift.





Maintaining my Antique Wool Winder

Maintaining my Antique Wool Winder

A few years ago I adopted this Antique Skein Winder at one of our guild sales.  Originally there would have been a mechanism that would count the rotations and pop once a full skein was reached.  But that part of the tool is broken on this one.  However, it is still quite usable for winding up skeins of yarn.

I noticed that mine was looking quite dusty and the wood was quite dry.  Winter in Ontario can be quite cold and dry so this is no great surprise that my skein winder was looking a bit tired.

Dusty Antique wool winder with dry wood
Antique wool winder before cleaning

I dug out my bag of wood cleaners and assessed the problem.  I decided to use the Home Hardware Outdoor Furniture Wax.

Wood cleaners and conditioners
Wood cleaners and conditioners

Before I started to use the wax I wiped down the skein winder with a damp rag to remove the surface dust.  Then I added a dollop of furniture wax and started rubbing it in.  This wax is nice to use because it is very wet and easy to spread around.  I also find it very nourishing to the wood.

Wood skein winder with a splat of wax polish on it
Splat of wax polish

When the whole skein winder was waxed the wood grain was showing really nicely and the whole thing looked amazing.  It didn’t take long to clean and maintain my skein winder and it was very satisfying to do because the results are so impressive.  Having tools that work properly is wonderful.  Having tools that are also beautiful makes them even more enjoyable to use.

Clean wooden skein winder
Clean wooden skein winder

I do a lot of spinning and therefore this tool gets used all the time.  I went to the Chesterville Spin In on Feb 4th and bough this lovely braid of Superwash Merino combed top from Karberry Farm.

Braid of wool roving in blue, rust and white
Braid of Superwash Merino Combed top from Karberry Farm

After I spun it up I decided to take a few photos showing my skein winder in action.  To get started I move my spinning wheel off to the left and release the brake tension on the bobbin.

Majacraft Rose Spinning wheel on left and Antique skein winder on right
Majacraft Rose Spinning wheel (left) and Skein Winder (right)

Next I attach the end of the yarn to one of the arms of the skein winder and start winding.  (I use an elastic hair tie on the arm of the winder and simply tuck the end of the yarn under the elastic to secure it, and then I start winding.)  The yarn flows off the bobbin on the spinning wheel and onto the skein winder.  I do hold the yarn as I am winding so that it winds on evenly and with a bit of tension.

Yarn being wound off the spinning wheel bobbin and onto the skein winder
Winding yarn off the spinning wheel bobbin and onto the skein winder

After I have wound up the yarn onto the skein winder I have a nice neat bundle of yarn.  (In this next photo you can see where I attached the initial tail of the yarn using a hair elastic on the left arm of the skein winder.)

Top view of skein winder with yarn wound onto it
Skein winder with yarn wound onto it

Next I use scrap yarn to tie four figure eight ties on the skein, spacing them out around the skein.

Figure eiight tie on the skein using scrap yarn
Figure eight tie on the skein using scrap yarn

I also like to secure both ends of the yarn into the nearest figure eight tie.  I take the yarn end, flip it over the nearest figure eight knot, and then tie a light knot.  This allows me to always find one of the ends of the skein later because I know it will be in one of the four figure eight ties.

Yarn tail flipped over the figure eight tie and knotted lightly
Yarn tail flipped over the figure eight tie and knotted lightly

Once the four ties are knotted and the ends of the skein are secured, it is time to remove the skein from the yarn winder.

Front view of yarn winder with skein of yarn on it with four yarn ties
Front view of yarn winder with skein of yarn on it with four yarn ties

My winder has six arms.  One of the arms has a neat elbow joint that has can be bent.  When I bend the arm to the side this releases the tension on the skein, making it easier to remove the skein off the winder.

Front view of yarn winder with one arm bent to assist with taking the skein off the yarn winder
Elbow joint bent to assist with taking the skein off the winder

After removing from the winder I twist the skein into a neat bundle for storage.  This skein of chain plied yarn will go in the pile of recent handspun waiting to be washed.  After it is washed and dry it will be ready for longterm storage or for use.

Twisted skein of yarn sitting on the base of the yarn winder
Twisted skein of yarn


And just for fun, I’m going to end this post by including the before and after photos side by side.  I love how it went from drab to fabulous with a tiny bit of elbow grease.  This handsome Antique skein winder deserved the TLC.

Dusty Antique wool winder with dry wood
Antique wool winder before cleaning
Clean wooden skein winder
Clean wooden skein winder


Weaving a Cowl for a Christmas present

Weaving a Cowl for a Christmas present

Hello!  I am Carlene and a new poster here on the Felting and Fiber Studio blog.  I live in Carp which is part of Ottawa Canada. I am a member of the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild; the same guild that Jan Scott, Ann McElroy and Bernadette Quade belong to.

I am interested in a number of fiber arts including: crochet, knitting, spinning, felting and weaving.  I will admit that spinning is my biggest passion and where I spend most of my time.  I have been dabbling in weaving for a bit, using rigid heddle looms and taking some classes at the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild.

In June 2022 I managed to purchase a used Saori CH50 loom and since then my weaving has really taken off.  I love the Saori philosophy and how well designed the loom is.  Saori weaving is a free form style of weaving developed in Japan.  You can learn more about the history of Saori online from Saori Global.

Here is my Saori loom.  It is a cute little 2 harness loom with a small footprint similar to a card table.  The official specs are as follows: Width: 69cm (26″), Depth: 61cm (24″), Height: 98cm (38″), Weight: 15.7kg (34.5lb), Weaving Width: 60cm (23″).

One of the neat innovations of the Saori looms is using a square back beam that allows you to slide a pre-wound warp onto the loom and speed up the warping process.  You can buy pre-wound warps in a number of different thread counts (50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 threads), lengths (3m, 6m, 12m and 30m) and fibre types (cotton, wool, or mixed fibers such as wool, cashmere, silk).  The most affordable warps are plain black warps in either wool or cotton.  This is a 100 end cotton warp that I recently put on my loom.  The warp threads are taped to the square tube, then wound on under light tension with spacers inserted occasionally.  At the end of the warp the ends are again taped down.

After putting the warp onto the back beam, I lifted the reed and beater out of the loom and set it aside.  Then I untaped the warp threads from the roll and lifted them up over the back beam, over the middle castle of the loom and taped the threads to the loom shelf using green painters tape.


Next I did some quick counting and inserted some chip clips as markers.  I wanted to thread from the middle outwards so that I could easily position the warp threads in the middle of the reed and the heddles on the shaft.  After counting out the threads I carefully snipped a single thread from the tape, then threaded it through the inserted eye heddle on the rear shaft.  I repeated this process with the the next thread and then threaded it through the inserted eye heddle on the front shaft.  I then skipped a heddle in each shaft and then repeated this process to thread the next thread, all the way across the loom.

In this next picture you can see all the black warp threads have been inserted through the heddles.  I have used chip clips to keep the threads neat and tidy.  There is a spare empty heddle between each of the threads.

I decided to add some supplementary warp threads to experiment with adding a bit of colour to my warp.  I bought these Kumihimo bobbins to try.  I wound cotton thread in various colours onto the bobbins.

Then I positioned the bobbins at the back of the loom and slowly threaded them into some of the empty heddles between warp threads.  The placement of these threads was somewhat random.  After adding in the supplementary warp threads I was ready to thread the reed.  So I put the beater bar and reed back into the loom.

I used my threading hook to thread the reed and I did groups of 4 threads, then one empty space in the reed, then the next set of 4 threads.  Chip clips were again used to keep the threads tidy.

After completing the threading it was time to tie onto the front beam and then start weaving.  The warp threads are knotted onto the front beam.  The blue yarn you see is a bit of scrap yarn at the beginning of the project to help space out the warp threads.  The weft threads (the back and forth weaving threads) is some self striping wool/acrylic sock yarn (Kroy Socks Stripes in the colour Burnished Sierra).  When you look at the back of the loom the Kumihimo bobbins with the supplementary warp threads are hanging off the back.

I wove a piece that was about 64″ on the loom.  After taking it off the loom the piece measured 60.5″ x 20.5″.  After washing the dimensions will shift again and there will be a bit more shrinkage.

After removing the blue waste yarn I trimmed the warp ends, knotted them together, then twisted the fringe.  The result is a cowl for my Christmas gift pile.  I still have one last step to do though.  The fabric still needs to be washed to set the cloth and after washing it’ll need a quick press with the iron to make it look beautiful again.  I have a stack of Christmas weaving waiting for washing and ironing.  Luckily there is still a bit of time before Christmas to get it all done.

I got the stack weaving washed and realized that I had forgotten the step of sewing on labels.  So today I sat down with the pile and sewed on tags.  I have these nice vegan leather tags that I purchased off ETSY from FractalFocusStudios and I carefully sewed one on each item.


After putting the tag on I did a quick try on.  Love it!  My stack of scarves and cowls are now sitting in the pile of Christmas gifts.  Soon they will all be adopted by new owners.


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