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[Mail: Kenn@Bobbinmaker.com ]

Notes on Bobbin Winders.

I have a black plastic one which I got from the Beggars Lace some 8 years ago, for about $50 (I notice that Holly van Sciver has it for $40). It clamps to my table (I added a layer of felt onto both sides of the clamp to preserve the finish on the table), it's light, it takes both spangled and unspangled bobbins without a murmur, it has a 1:4 ratio (ie, one turn of the crank turns the bobbin four times) and, in all the 8 years of extensive use, all I had to do to it is replace the spongy rubber lining of the holder (replaced it with spongy plastic -- ought to last longer).

Tamara P. Duvall
I have an Australian pocket bobbin winder and find it very useful for most cylindrical bobbins. The bobbin is supported by a half-cylindrical gutter while it, the bobbin, is being turned by a rotating rubber band. This makes it impractical for some continental bobbins that do not sit down in the gutter. And the T-squares do not fit at all! (These are unspangled, square bobbins designed by Tamara - particularly suitable for laces with a large number of sewings - a pleasure to use). Since I have mostly been using them for braid-type laces the number to be wound at any one time is small so hand winding is not too burdensome. But for a larger project...

Tamara, do you find your black winder suitable for these square bobbins?

Jay - Sydney, Australia
I, too, have the Aussie winder and I absolutely love it. It's the best winder I've found! It's made by an Arachnean (or her husband?), Gaye Beswick. I don't know anything about ordering directly from Gaye, but The Lacemaker carries it. Tracy is also an Arachnean. Maybe she or Gaye will respond to you about getting it.

Robin P. - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
I have the black nylon winder and sometimes have the same problem of flying bobbins. For continental bobbins, I took care of it with plumbing hosing that had been left over from installing a dishwasher. A cut length of about 1 1/2 to 2 inches fits perfectly over the bobbin seat on the winder. My French bobbins fit perfectly into it. Soon I'm going to modify another length with a notch to accommodate spangles. I don't have the problem with my small Belgian bobbins. They stay perfectly in the unmodified seat.

Just keep your eyes open and I'll bet you can find something to easily modify your winder.

G. Alison Giachetti
I also have one of Gaye and John Beswick Pocket Bobbin Winders. I find it easy to use and like to take it with me when I go to classes and travel. They can be reached at dollyco@cobweb.com.au .

Delores Miller, Coalinga, California, USA
And I have one I use without problems! I'm not exactly sure what you mean by ball bobbins, but I have wound both Midlands and various types of continental bobbin on mine successfully. The only think is that, like Tamara, I plan to change the rubber "grip" that holds the neck of the bobbin, as it has crushed with use and I think something along the lines of foam would hold better. By the way, I once found my bobbin winder had sat crushed under a book for the better part of six months - one of the prongs that holds the bobbin had crushed over to one side. I bravely poured very hot water over the crushed prong - and it moved back into its original position! I was very pleased with that one.

Adele Shaak
Add me to the "I hate that stupid black plastic winder" camp! From examining the mail on the subject (snippets of which are included below) it is clear that there is dissatisfaction. Anything that requires extensive tinkering just to get it to perform its primary intended function is an engineering loser. I use mostly Midlands and Duchesse bobbins, both are which are as likely to go spinning across the room as take up thread when I use the winder. Some people seem to have no problem; I wonder if some were just poorly made??

I mentioned this to the US vendor who sold it to me and she did say that the maker/distributor (SMP Lace, UK) would take it back if it was "broken". Perhaps the answer is for all of us who hate it to either mass email or send the things back!

I do have the Beswick Aussie winder, love it, and use it almost all the time.

Cindy Hutton - Norfolk, VA USA
A good and useful bobbin winder can be seen on our home page.

Theo Brejaart - Rotterdam, NL
The trick to using the black nylon bobbin winder is to let the head of the bobbin spin against the tip of your forefinger as you press the bobbin toward the back of the winder. The thread feeds through the same hand. This simple trick costs nothing and lets the lacemaker use this very affordable bobbin winder successfully for most types of bobbins.

Keep in mind this bobbin winder was originally designed to be "gentle" for use with East Midland bobbins which are often highly decorated, glass or antique.

Try this "trick" which was originally taught to me by Gail Young, and I think owners of this winder will be happy with the results.

Holly Van Sciver
E-mail: vsblace@twcny.rr.com
URL: www.vansciverbobbinlace.com
Uh-uh, the Australian winder does *not* take "any style and size of bobbins"; sorry. I too have one of the Beswick Marvels -- kept it partly because I still have quite a batch of the Midlands (which it handles with ease) but mostly because I'm totally enchanted with the ingenuity that went into its design and construction.

But as Jay pointed out, it won't handle the the T-squares (well, it'll wind onto the upper part of the neck if you position the bobbin "just so"), and I'm not sure how many styles of the Continentals it would tackle, though I understand that John Beswick has designed a little adapter for the Marvel (and no, it's not the official name of it, though it should be ), which makes winding some Continentals possible.

As for the plastic one, I've never had any trouble with it. Even without Holly's tip about pushing on the head while winding, the bobbins hardly ever "flew out", and only if I didn't seat them in the little rubber "cup" properly.

I do not consider having to replace the neck grip after 7-8 years of use a serious disadvantage; after that amount of time, any rubber would harden and crumble. Replacing the rubber grip with plasticky foam was a matter of minutes (instead of carving it to shape, I just stuck 4 narrow strips -- two on each side of the grip, with the space between them for the neck) and I expect it to outlast me.

Nor do I consider having to slip on and off a piece of wider rubber hose to form a new "cup" for Continentals (thanks for the tip, Alison) a problem -- you only do it once in a while, not with every pair.

And yes, Jay, it *does* fit the T-squares perfectly, and without any modifications -- the tapered tip was put in the bobbin for a double reason: to make the sewings easier *and* to fit into the holding cup of my existing winder. If one can kill two birds with one stone...

I still think it was the best Christmas gift I ever got from my husband, especially when one considers the price... Tamara Duvall - Lexington, VA, USA
The husband of a friend of mine makes wonderful electric bobbin winders which he sells for $50 Cdn. Anyone interested, please e-mail me and I can forward your request to them.

Katherine Hosszu
I also have a black plastic bobbin winder which is not terribly good, as the bobbins keep getting out sideways with the pressure of the thread being pulled. Instead of pushing the tightening device towards the free end of the bobbin clamp, you actually have to push it the other way, which sounds ludicrous to me! I wish I had seen it before I bought it!!! Anyway, I have solved part of my problem by just clamping a clothes peg (plastic kind with a spring, not dolly peg) over the side at the closest point to where the thread is going to wind. It holds up pretty well for most bobbins, as long as they are not to thick.

My husband made me a beautiful bobbin winder in jarrah (one of the eucalyptus) wood, with painted medieval initials on the side :-))) but it doesn't work very well with fancy carved bobbins and not at all with continental, so I needed another one. I've seen the Beswick portable one, though, and I think it will be my next big buy when they come to our lace meeting in Melbourne next.

I started winding bobbins by hand, but I got cramps and RSI, so, unless I just need a small amount of thread, it's a no-no. I must tell you about my first experience with bobbins! I started learning with a Dryad kit, and got everything I needed, but I had no idea of the amount of thread needed for beginners pieces, and the books don't tell you, either. So, as the lady in the shop had told me I should wind my thread on pairs of bobbins, and showed me how to do the half-hitch knot, I just went and wound as much thread as I could on each side of the bobbin, thinking I wouldn't have to do it too often. Well, you can guess what happened! I did my first "rope" piece, and when I reached the bottom of the pillow, I had to cut it off... and found myself with lots of single bobbins all wound up as fully as possible with thread....Just shows that beginners books should really be very, very detailed and simple!

Helene Gannac, a froggy in Melbourne,Australia,
Know it's a bit old hat now, but wanted to say that our Lace Group has a selection of winders to choose from and the nylon Newnham's Bobbin Winder (now supplied by SMP Lace) is still popular with them and going strong after over 15 years of use. For the price it is a good workhorse.

Steve and Heather Smith (Winslow Bobbins) - Winslow, England
e-mail: steve&heather@winslowbobbins.com
URL: www.winslowbobbins.com
Ledonna wrote:

It is the same one.

Steph Peters - Manchester, England
But for someone like Carolina (in Barcelona) it might be a bit silly to pay for the postage twice (first from Australia to US, then from US to Spain...

The winder is made by John Beswick; his wife, Gaye, can be reached at: Gaye Beswick dollyco@cobweb.com.au

Tamara P. Duvall - Lexington, VA, USA
Those of us here in Houston ALL have the pocket winder made by the Beswick's.....it's the greatest little invention made since sliced bread! It's portable (breaks down into a TINY little bag), accommodates all types of bobbins, and is highly affordable. I love mine and wouldn't trade it for anything! You won't go wrong spending however many dollars, pounds, pesos etc. you need to obtain this little lacemaking gem!

Aren't the Aussies the greatest of inventors!!

I've been wanting to get one, but I thought I'd wait until July and hopefully I'll get to buy one & meet Gaye in person.

And if you haven't guessed yet, by what I just wrote, then read on. Yes, I'm going back home to Australia this summer, for 4 weeks, with my 2 sons. I'm looking forward to getting a dose of that eucalyptus scented air & golden sunshine!!

So Gaye, please engrave my name on a bobbin winder for me, & I'll pick it up when I turn up for the S.A. lacemakers' July meeting.

Pene Piip - Groton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Yep, that's the right bobbin winder that Holly has on her web-site. And a nifty little winder it is too! It won't do all bobbins if they are of a particularly odd shape or square, but for midlands or bobbins with a longish shank they are great. In Canada you can get them from Trillium Lace, sorry I don't have the e-mail. I'm very happy with mine and I marvel over the engineering that went into making it such a neat small package.

Sharon Whitely on Vancouver Island
My husband came up with a very unconventional way for me to wind the bobbins and he would like me to share it with you. It took a little practice but was well worth it. I use a variable speed cordless drill. Because it is variable speed, you can get it to go really slow to control where the thread is winding. He took a large alligator clip (the ones they use for testing electrical equipment), bent it a little so the shaft end was more centered. That is the end that goes into the drill where the drill bit would normally go. I do put a piece of soft foam around the bobbin end so the alligator clip teeth do not dig into the wood. Clip the bobbin at the bottom (not the spangle but the wood part), do not put it in cross wise but length wise like this (bobbin------- >open clip), start the tread a little to anchor it and slowly and gently start the drill.

I practiced on a cheap bobbin using sewing thread until I got the hang of it. Sometimes I find it easier if I put the drill into a vise or if I have someone else hold the drill while I control the thread. The finest thread I've tried it with was size 100 DMC Cordonnet It's not the best system but it didn't cost anything and it works.

No laughter here.

I have used a drill ever since I started doing lace. I had a bunch (okay, only six or seven) of the old hand drills, one made that lays horizontally on a table top. I turned a wood shaft about 3" long, drilled a 1/4" hole in the end, cut an oval out of the center and exited it through the 1/4" hole side. This allows me to spread the ends to hold the bobbin and the spangle fits in the oval hole. I placed a long screw in the other end and cut off the head. This allows me to chuck it into the drill. I have also used it in the regular battery drills but find I can do it faster with the older one.

Kenn Van-Dieren
OK, gang, here is the scoop:

The Torchon House
John & Gaye Beswick
c/o Post Office
South Australia 5142
Tel. & Fax is ..... 61 (08) 83901324
Email address : dollyco@cobweb.com.au

The also have a lot of other supplies and bobbins. The winder is the most wonderful invention and be sure to get the continental adapter as well.( it works well for oversize midlands and I presume continentals, none us use them). Prompt service as well. I used my Visa to charge the ten winders I got for all of us here at Lone Star Lacers. Not one person did not love it and a few more of our members are ordering one as well.

Christine (aka Chris) in Katy, TX, USA
I have received a wealth of information about the little bobbin winder. Thank you Tamara for your opinion. Really I didn't know that these bobbin winder come from Aussi. It seemed to me that it could be interesting because of size. Here in Spain are very expensive and they have a quite big size. Whereas, I'll contact Gaye & John Beswick for getting more information.

Thank you all.

Carolina. Barcelona. Spain

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