While browsing the web (as you do) I came across a small electric spinning wheel, the Electric Eel Wheel. It is of an unconventional design, in that it doesn’t look anything like most spinning wheels, and it is very lightweight and portable. Best of all, the designer has generously made the plans and instructions freely available to anyone who wants to build one, as well as selling the Eel Wheel in kit form and ready-made. I am very tempted because I’ve always wanted to try spinning but don’t really fancy an archaic wooden spinning wheel that will occupy more space than I have available. And it should be easier for a beginner to concentrate on the drafting if the speed is constant. Also, know I’ll enjoy building the thing as much as using it. The only problem is that the designer is US-based and consequently so are all the suppliers he recommends for the various components. My first task is therefore to source the components and work out approximately what it will cost me to build. Seeing as a complete kit can be bought for $180, it should be affordable.
Having checked, I know I can obtain the majority of the Eel Wheel’s electrical and electronic components in the UK through suppliers such as Maplins and RS Components (when did it stop being called Radio Spares?), and at very modest cost. The difficulty comes with the 12V DC motor and power supply, particularly the motor. Its specification isn’t given in sufficient detail to find a suitable substitute. I’m wondering if I can instead cannibalise an old cordless drill, which will come with its own power supply (the charger), motor controller and various other potentially useful components such as the adjustable speed switch and the chuck. After a bit of research I have discovered that a typical 12V cordless drill has a maximum (no load) speed of 1,300 rpm, which should be enough to spin yarn at a reasonable rate. All I need now is an old drill. I’m hoping I can beg one from someone as people often just buy a new drill when the battery fails, it’s not much more expensive than replacing the battery.
What I should have been doing in spare moments, instead of dreaming of bastardised drill/ spinning wheel combinations, is fitting the new rainwater goods we have just had delivered. The house had external wall insulation applied last summer with a protective coat of finely-textured synthetic render over the top. We were told that this render would be self-cleaning, a claim we took with a pinch of salt, but it has proved to be true. Almost a year later, it is still pristine white and any bird droppings or other dirt just washes off the next time it rains. The only problem with this is that the three magnolia-painted downpipes look awful against the stark whiteness of the walls, especially as they are peeling and need repainting. Rather than do that, and have to paint them again every few years, we decided just to replace them with new white uPVC. So that is a job for a fine evening, if it ever stops raining.
One job we have done is to clear out the garage ready for our new, fuel-efficient car which arrives this week. I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to our ancient diesel which leaks like a sieve and has niggling faults galore, although it is completely reliable as far as getting from A to B goes. Here’s hoping the replacement proves equally dependable for the next few years.