An ode to my engineer

I love engineers. Engineers are great companions for knitters because they like to know how anything and everything works. This includes how the yarn is turned into a knitted fabric and all the fun tools associated with it. (Well at least mine is intrigued, not enough to knit himself, but enough to want to understand the mechanics.)

Saturday I knit the foot of my toe-up sock while gathering information and ideas on spinning. Sunday, I showed the boy plans for making a drop-spindle. He says wouldn’t you prefer a wheel? I say “wheels are expensive and drop-spindles are a good way to learn.” He goes to howstuffworks.com and looks up spinning wheels. “I think I can make our stationary bike into a spinning wheel for you.” Wow aren’t engineers grand?

It only gets better. I started Google-ing information on spinning wheels so he can fully understand the function behind it and then I stumble upon a site for using a mixer for a ball winder and a homemade yarn swift. So of course the engineering bug kicks in.

We try out the mixer winder, but our stand up mixer is busted and the handheld spins too fast to get good control on the yarn. So he starts to build me a ball winder out of a wire hanger and a tp roll using our drill as a motor to spin it. I continue to peruse the interweb for more yarn swift ideas when I happen upon Crafting Jen’s site.

She has a design for a swift made from Tinker Toys. Too cool. A little internet searching and it turns out that Target sells Tinker Toys. We continue to fuss with our ball winder which works smashingly but still needs some tweaking to get it to form a good yarn cake. Then we rush off to Target before closing to buy the Tinker Toys for the swift. Once we returned I built the swift and he built a helicopter. (Apparently, that was more fun than troubleshooting the ball winder.) Sorry no pictures of the helicopter. It was dismantled before bed.

Here is the ball winder and resulting cake:
ball winder .JPG

yarn cake.JPG

We need to tweak the angle and perhaps make it longer so that it will form a nicer yarn cake.

And the swift:
swift.JPG

I made mine a little taller by adding an extra yellow rod in the middle. We haven’t tried it out yet, but I have it on good authority that it works well. Mine is spinning nicely, we just want to get the ball winder working before I try to wind my nice yarns.

This weekend we will be swinging by A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs, Ohio. If we haven’t figured out our ball winder by then we may get some inspiration from the fiber festival.

Here are my socks awaiting their short row heels:
toe ups 2.JPG

Have a great day!

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2 Responses to An ode to my engineer

  1. Em says:

    Isn’t it amazing how fast this spinning/yarncraft thing can get into your brain, encouraging you to cobble together all sorts of new and wonderful devices? Have fun! And please post if that stationary bike-to-spinning wheel comes about!

  2. dawn says:

    hey lw! i am going to build a tinker toy swift, and google gave me your site. i wasn’t even looking for you.

    Well, i hope to see you tonight. I’ll be using swift then. maybe.

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