How To Clean Your Precious Spinning Wheel

When was the last time you cleaned your spinning wheel? Have you just acquired an old wheel that needs cleaning? A dusty wheel you want to start using again? Used your wheel a lot lately? Or are you new to spinning and want to know how to care for your wheel? Whatever the reason, your spinning wheel is both a working tool and a piece of furniture in your home. And as such it should be looked after and treated with care. We all get told as children that the more you look after your things, the longer they’ll last.

How To Clean Your Precious Spinning Wheel by Gradiance Yarns |
How To Clean Your Precious Spinning Wheel by Gradiance Yarns |

So here is my ten step guide to cleaning your spinning wheel.

1. Put down a Sheet

This isn’t quite a necessary for a regularly cleaned wheel, but for dirty wheels place a sheet down first, or go outside if the sun is shining. This makes cleaning up after so much easier!

2. Remove…

…the drive band, flyer, bobbins and mother-of-all wherever possible. This will make cleaning the rest of the wheel and the parts much easier.

3. Dusting

Working from the top down, give the wheel a dusting with a soft cloth. On particularly dusty wheels, if you work bottom up you may find you need to dust the bottom a second time! For significant amounts of dust, a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment may be used on the larger surface areas. Look out for any fibre that has become entangled that needs to be removed. Tweezers can help with this.

How To Clean Your Precious Spinning Wheel by Gradiance Yarns |
Watch out for the little bits of fibre entangled around the wheel and on the accessories!

4. Sticky Bits!

After you’ve finishing trying to figure out what it is or how it even got there, a damp cloth will help remove these more stubborn sticky areas. Just make sure you dry the area when you’ve removed it. For harder to reach nooks and crannies a damp cotton swab may help.

5. Accessories

Time to move on to the flyer, bobbins and mother-of-all, following the above steps for dusting and any sticky bits. Look out for any fibre that has become entangled too! Pipe cleaners and cotton swabs can get inside your bobbins.

How To Clean Your Precious Spinning Wheel by Gradiance Yarns |
Cleaning your accessories is an important part of spinning wheel care too!

6. Orifice

Small bits of fibre, dust, and oil can accumulate in here. A slightly damp cotton swab can be used to clean inside the orifice. But don’t forget to use a dry cotton swab after to dry it again.

7. Grooves

Generally I use a damp cotton swab to run around inside the grooves on the flyer and bobbins, and then a dry one to dry it off. But a toothbrush would work too.

8. Underneath

Don’t forget the undersides of your wheel, including the treadle. Be careful turning it on it’s side and ask for help if you have a particularly large wheel.

9. Wood Care

Your wheel manufacturer will have a recommended product to care for the wood they have used. If you don’t have the manual or don’t know the manufacturer – maybe your wheel was made by a friend of a friend – then beeswax is your best option. Apply a small amount of beeswax paste using a clean cloth – not the one you have just done the dusting with – and buff that puppy until you have a gorgeous shiny wheel again!

10. Oiling

Last but not least, check any moving parts and apply a little oil where necessary to ensure the joints glide smoothly.

Want to take all of this away with you on one easy to print PDF? Click this Link:~ How To Clean Your Spinning Wheel Cheatsheet

Once your wheel is back together, share your comments below if this has helped you, and then go find some fibre and enjoy!

Happy Spinning!


This 1 Easy Process to Keep your Stash Under Control

My yarn stash is out of control! My fibre stash is not! But what have I done differently? This simple process I have put together, if followed religiously, will help new spinners keep what is very likely to become a new addiction under control.

A few months ago a dear enabler friend loaned me her spinning wheel. As an obsessed avid knitter, dyer, and designer, spinning was naturally going to be the next vice craft for me to partake in. But with such an unruly exciting yarn stash, I could easily see fibre taking over following the same path.

Then an even worse thought entered my head! More fibre and more spinning, leads to even more yarn! Clearly this seemingly traditional and stress reducing craft has a dark side.

In 2014, before spinning, I decided to go cold sheep*. Bear with me here. For the uninitiated, this is where you buy no new yarn for a set period of time. Usually a year. You are allowed to swap yarn, but no newly bought yarn. Anyway, surprisingly, I survived the year. And I was OK about it. Don’t start building any shrines though. There were moments of weakness where yummy skeins of yarn were added to my cart, but no “Pay Now” buttons were clicked. By saying a 100% no, my self-restraint could cope. No was no.

Stash 2013
My yarn stash before the 2014 cold sheep experiment

This previous experience triggered an idea. What if I could buy a braid of fibre, spin it AND knit it, all before I buy the next braid of fibre? This would require a higher level of self-control. I would be allowing myself to buy fibre, but only under certain conditions. Though, would I start trying to justify a purchase to myself? I might start saying “but I need two braids to make the yarn to knit this” or “it might not be here next time”. I’ve been in this situation with yarn and I’ve caved into the little devil sitting on my shoulder before.

A few days passed and I was starting to think that, really, this is still a no means no situation. Which I succeeded at before. Why would this be any different? So I started. My first spinning was a braid of my own. A Polwarth and Merino D’Arles top in the colour Tropics. I finished spinning, I knitted it up, and I even gifted the item to my enabling dear friend. Then I purchased my next braid from Artist’s Palette Yarns. I spun it, knitted it up, and then went in search for my next braid. It was working.

Handspun Tropics-1.jpg
My first hand spun and knitted garment using the Whirl Me Away Cowl pattern

Today, I still have no extra fibre in my stash. I am waiting for our excellent post man to deliver my next parcel so that I may again repeat the process that is so far working for me. As with my year of cold sheep with yarn, fibre has made it into carts during moments of weakness. But no “Pay Now” buttons or credit cards have been handed over whilst I have not completed a braid in progress from fibre to finished item.

If you are new to spinning then maybe this could work for you too! If you are not new to spinning, then perhaps a tweaked version of this would work. Maybe you spin and knit two braids, before you buy the next one?

*I did allow myself one yarn purchase. And this was purely because our holiday that year was in Iceland and I was not going to be leaving the country unless I had some of the famous Icelandic lopi! I left with 4 x 50g balls of natural coloured lace and a pattern book of Icelandic lace shawls. That was it.