procrastination over. kinda.

This morning i realised just how many WIPs I had..mostly fibre related, but a few in other media too. I decided to catalogue them and take pics and post here and try to shame myself into actually getting on with something rather than starting something else. Well, somehow in the time between having this thought in my bedroom, and getting dressed and making it downstairs, I remembered another WIP (which is a very generous title, seeing as I’ve not actually done any W on it at all). So screw cataloguing, it was time to make a mess!

I found this wheel, with lazy kate, 3 bobbins, a niddy noddy (that was so awful I forgot to put it in the picture), and an ‘assortment of spinning books’ at an auction a few months ago. The final price including fees and VAT and whatever was around £40, which was pretty good.


It was covered in dust, had some wool that had been (badly) spun in the grease on the bobbins, and smelled of mothballs, old lanolin, and despair. Oh, and the leather footman/treadle connector was broken. I thought it was an old Ashford Traditional, but on closer inspection (i.e. reading the label) I noticed it was branded ‘Kit Kraft’, so that means it’s oooold.

Oh, and here’s the ‘assortment of spinning books’ that came with it. I guess 2 out of 5 isn’t bad, though how the cheesemaking one got in there I’m not sure.


The reason i was procrastinating was because I was unsure whether to just clean it up and replace the bit of leather, or whether to strip it down completely and restain and paint and oil and all sort of other things. So of course on this day of ending procrastination and getting stuff done I decided to go with the method that would take weeks rather than hours.

As I was unscrewing it, Gren came into the room to talk to me about WoW, and, having got to a rather stiff screw, I shoved the bit at him saying ‘uuuuh’, which I think is the internationally recognised noise for ‘You’re talking and i don’t want to interrupt, but I’m a weak girl and you’re a big strong man, please remove this screw/bottletop/jar lid for me using your awesome powers’. Then he seemed vaguely interested in the whole thing and undid a few more screws until it was time to get the wheel off.

Then the whole thing turned into an old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly scenario. The axle goes through the wheel, then there is a hole through both in which a long metal pin sits to keep it in place. You need to get a long rod into the hole and hit it with a hammer until the pin slides out. On the newer model traddies this hole is at one edge of the wheel so you can use the hammer without the spokes and wheel rim getting in the way. On this wheel it was right in the centre, so getting something in and hammering was hard enough as it was.  Then I couldn’t even find anything suitable in my tool drawer, and so came back with a strange selection of ‘might do the job’ bits. He tried a long thin rat-tail file. And hammered. A lot. Nothing went anywhere, and then he realised the file was stuck in the metal rod and wouldn’t come out.

Nothing else i’d found was up to the task, so I went out to the garage/workshop and hunted there for more suitable items. I came back with a little jewellers screwdriver and a few nails. At this point Gren showed me that while trying to remove the file he’d broken it off inside the wheel. The shaft of the screwdriver I’d found fitted right inside the metal pin, and the edge of the handle part was the same size as the hole in the wood, so in theory we could put this into the pin from the non-file end and use the screwdriver to push out the pin AND the file.

A couple of minutes of hammering later, and he realised the screwdriver wouldn’t come out. So there was a hole with a pin in the middle, a broken bit of a file sticking out one end, and a screwdriver sticking out the other. At this point he gave up and went to put the kettle on, and I had to take over. I tried some more hitting with a hammer and pulling at the file (that was at least now protuding a bit) with pliers. I was about to hit the file end to try and get the screwdriver out, when Gren came back and said ‘if you hit that it’ll just get more wedged in the pin and make it even worse’. He may have had a point, though it was fast getting hard to see how things could get worse unless fire or velociraptors or crocodiles were involved. He suggested I cut off the protruding bit of file, but having no saw or dremel to hand and not wanting to get up AGAIN, I decided i was going to use the sharp cutty bit on the pliers to dent it enough that I could hit it with a hammer and it would break off (i like hitting things with hammers, ok?). As it was, this plan was awesome, as using that part of the pliers on the rough surface of the file got much better grip than expected, and i pulled the broken bit out.

So, now onto the screwdriver. I hit the pin back the other way until the screwdriver loosened, and then pulled it out. Ok, so we were back where we started, except the pin was actually protruding about an inch from the hub  of the wheel. I got one of the nails I’d found in the garage, put it into the hole and did a little more hitting.

Almost all of the pin was finally visible on the other side!! Oh, yeah, but the nail was stuck, and not long enough to fully push the pin out. I grabbed the pliers and started pulling and twisting. At some point during this part of the process a cup of tea had appeared next to me and Gren had appeared on the sofa opposite me, and he was making grabbing motions, which i think is the internationally recognised hand gesture for ‘you’re a weak girl and I’m a big strong man, it is painful to watch you struggling there using your pathetic muscles, so just let me do it already’. I handed it over and drank my tea, and after a little while of pulling and tugging with the pliers, the pin AND the nail were free.


The rest of the process was even less interesting, so I will spare the details. I will say that last time I used paint stripper i realised it ate through nitrile gloves. This time i double bagged for safety and realised that the vapours can travel through latex gloves AND washing up gloves and still make your hands burn. Seriously, wtf sort of gloves are you meant to wear with this crap? Then i ran out of paint stripper before all the varnish was gone, but decided to go ahead with staining anyway, figuring it would make it easier to see where the remaining varnish was and i could sand it later. or buy more paint stripper. Actually on most areas the odd bits of remaning varnish just made it look cool and old and stuff, but on the wheel itself it looks crap, so i will have to work on that tomorrow. Or next month. or year.

Anyway, here’s how it looks now. If you can imagine this picture was taken in decent light and wasn’t blurry. Or maybe just take my word for it. It’s brown now.


Oh, and if you’ve managed to read all this way, here is your reward. We went on a boat on the broads a while back, and i squeeed a lot as everything had been making babies and they were SO CUTE.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *