Antique Yarn Winder

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , My Spinning Wheels , Weaving 
[5] Comments 

11This antique yarn winder was “won” on eBay and shipped from Holland. It was purchased knowing the “clock” didn’t work. BUT, with beeswax and two nylon bushings and a lot of fiddling, I got it working. When the wheel is turned to wind on the yarn to create a skein, it turns a wood gear which run the “clock”, the hand winds to keep track of the length of yarn. I must admit that even with my fiddling, it doesn’t work flawlessly but my plan is to display the winder when I use the antique flax wheel for demos. I expect I will continue to use my metal and plastic skein winder for real work until my new wood one arrives from Glimarka. Several views of the yarn winder below:


My newest band is from heavy, strong, somewhat coarse rug wool:


Tropical Twister


5 Responses to “Antique Yarn Winder”

  1. M. Kei says, October 24th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    My mother had a much simpler clockenhen when I was growing up — no ‘clock’. It just clicked and you had to count the clicks yourself. I have wondered for years what the English word was, but could never find it. Not even Google knows ‘clockenhen.’

    How disappointing to find out it is merely called a ‘yarn winder’ in English!

    But at least I could show this picture to explain to my friend what I was talking about.

  2. elain says, April 25th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    hi.. i have been searching ‘clock reel’ and came up with your post. I have an antique, working clock reel… larger than yours, that stands on the floor. I bought it many years ago when I was spinning almost full time, but i no longer use it and am planning to sell it. I am curious to know how much you paid for your.
    victoria b.c.

  3. Stuart says, April 30th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    The origin of “Pop Goes the Weasel” is not the cobbler’s bench story as is so often told. A “weasel” was a yarn winder. On my wife’s 1840’s yarn winder, the “monkey” in the nursery rhyme is the metal pin on the wooden gear. It slowly “chases” its way around and when 100 yards of yarn have been wound, the “monkey” crawls underneath the long wooden strip and when it releases, Pop!! goes the weasel. It scares the daylights out of you when it happens and you could see how kids would find the mystery of when the Pop!! was going to happen to be quite interesting. Stuart

  4. david says, August 13th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    a country friend dropped off a flax wheel and this other thing. I was calling it a frilly dilly for lack of knowledge. Your web site has cleared the air and my conversation with friend this morning put together the puzzle. It is missing the arms and has just the gear and peg along with the turned rod for driving the gear. My intentions are to turn a hub and arms to in appearance replicate what is missing.

  5. Michelle says, May 27th, 2014 at 9:16 am

    As posted above, this is also called a yarn weasel or a spinner’s weasel. Here are a few links for your reference: (scroll down)


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