Sunday, March 22, 2020

Problem solving

A while back, I showed you an Indian Book Charkha that was given to me. At the time, I did not realize I was missing some essential bits.  I did play with it, learned how to use it, but then put it away as I could not actually create much with it. 

here is where the problem lies. I could spin, but I kept running into issues with the yarn working its way up the spindle shaft and eventually getting caught up in the mechanism which just chewed up the yarn I had spun.

Why? well because there is supposed to be a little disc that works as a stopper of sorts, I did not have those so I needed to work that out, and that was only one of the problems, I also had to figure out how I was going to get the yarn off the spindle smoothly to be able to ply it....I worked that out too!

lets start with the is how one should look... notice the little metal disc.....(this is a screen grab from The Woolery)

and here is what my spindles look like.....can you see what is missing?

I should point out that I did not get it quite right the first solution evolved so I thought I would show you the whole thing (not just the end result)

I looked around the house for disc like things.....metal washers had too large a hole, were too heavy....cardboard degrades too quickly, I needed something lightweight, rigid, super smooth and the right size to still allow room for the spindle to spin. I grabbed some fridge magnets that looked about right....I popped out the magnet itself, made a small hole with and awl in the plastic and inserted the spindle.....YES! that worked, and worked fairly well.....trouble is that these things have a very rounded edge and so I would not be able to put a lot of fibre onto each spindle before the yarn I was spinning would fall off the edge.

So, I again combed through various drawers and boxes and came across some plastic that I used to use when I made costumes.....this stuff is what I used when I needed to build rigid elements into pieces.

I cut some discs from this plastic and began using with the plastic disc from the magnets.....I now had a better, flatter surface to build the cop.......I think it took a day or so for the light bulb to come on.....I no longer needed that thick fridge magnet plastic......I could use the spindles with that cut plastic only. the image below shows the end result, it works even better than I had hoped.

my next problem was how to get the yarn to pull off smoothly so that I could ply it. I needed something to hold the spindles in the right position for this.....and that was an easy fix. I grabbed my lazy Kate that I use with the bobbins for my spinning wheel. On the side I placed some screw eyes that would allow the spindles to sit in and spin easily.  This ultra simple little modification works amazingly well.

 you still see those thicker plastic discs here because this is the yarn I spun before the light bulb came on.

I am now using the spindles modified with the white plastic which is wonderful because everything still packs nicely inside the book Charkha, and finally, here is my test mini was spun using the book Charkha and then chain plied using my spinning wheel...the fibre is merino and silk.

I should note that traditionally these Indian Book Charkhas are made for spinning cotton....I currently don't have any cotton but I was not about to let that stop me from using it

Copyright Jill Buckley