Another Round of Spinning

Anneliese Fox
3 min readAug 17, 2023

A progress report

Two flax wheels. The smaller one in front is a reproduction, the larger, an antique. Photo by author.

A lot has, and has not happened in spinning world in the past few months. I haven’t used up all the spinable fiber. The great wheel’s hub has been repaired. Hubby made me six spools for the smaller wheel.

After a few more tweaks, the smaller wheel, the one hubby built, is working much better. The wheel spins almost effortlessly now. It is not as fast as the larger wheel, but it’s faster than expected.

It’s not perfect. It doesn’t hold alignment the way I’d like. Something goes off, and the flyer, although still moving stops pulling the spun yarn onto the spool. It doesn’t happen all the time, so I haven’t been able to track the problem yet.

I did four spools worth of yarn over the weekend. My spinning noticeably improved, which was good. The belt broke. I think it will probably break again, the leather doesn’t look good. When it does, I’ll replace it with linen. My linen belts are working much better on the other wheels.

I’ve used up all of my lesser quality fiber now. Most of it was spun on the larger wheel when I didn’t have bobbins for the smaller wheel. The quality of my spinning did not improve all that much. I’m chalking it up to wool that was probably intended for things like felting rather than spinning. Now that it is all gone, I am hoping for better results. As long as the wheel performs predictably. That is still a work in process, but it’s getting better.

As far as the great wheel is concerned, hubby repaired the hub and the top of one of the maidens that was broken. I cleaned up the wheel, replaced the belt and tried turning it.

The wobble is gone, which is a vast improvement. But this is an antique wheel. Unlike the smaller flax wheels, the rim of the great wheel is flat. It doesn’t have groves for the belt to ride in. The rim is flat, thin wood, about three inches wide. When new, that is, it was probably mostly flat. Time has not been good to it, and now it is quite wavy. The long and short of it is that no matter how well the wheel is aligned with the spindle, the belt won’t stay on.

The solution? We are in the process of installing quarter inch tall rails on either edge of the wheel to create a channel for the belt. With one piece of rail, held by spring clamps, going three quarters of the circumference, the belt is not jumping off. So it appears that the solution will work.

I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to try it. As I understand it, the great wheel hasn’t been function for a lot of years. It will be fun to have it back in service.



Anneliese Fox

Writer of speculative fiction, programmer, artist in wood and clay, owner of Fox Computer Systems. My almost weekly blog follows what interests me at the moment