Sunday, December 29, 2013

Butterfly e-spinner modification

In 2007 I purchased a Butterfly electric spinner (e-spinner) from Jerry Womack. Shortly after I took a several year hiatus from most of my fiber arts, including spinning.  In 2012 I started knitting again and in 2013 resumed spinning.  I got back out my Butterfly e-spinner but was not happy with the WooLee Winder that I had gotten with my e-spinner. I tend to spin very fine yarns, and the WooLee Winder pull in was too hard and erratic for these very delicate yarns.  It works fantastically for plying, and I am sure it would be great for thicker yarns, say above lace or sock weight, but for extremely fine yarns from shorter fibers it would either not pull in or it would give sudden hard tugs at the ends of the bobbins where the direction turns.  Neither of these is conducive to happy spinning.

Since a WooLee Winder is only one of several flyer options originally available for the Womack Butterfly e-spinner I tried to contact Jerry Womack for options only to find that all contact info I had for him no longer worked.  I hope he and his wife are well, but my best guess is that they are no longer involved commercially in the fiber arts so I needed to figure out whether I could make changes to my e-spinner without assistance.

One of my regular spinning wheels is a Lendrum, for which I have all but the quill head, and several extra bobbins.  I checked the length and it looked like I could use a regular Lendrum flyer on my Butterfly, if only I had the right bearings.  So I took measurements and ordered a bearing for the front orifice.  This bearing didn't seem to want to come off of the WooLee winder flyer that came with the Butterfly, so I didn't try to remove it.  The rear bearing is smaller, but comes on and off easily.  It has to be removed every time the bobbin is changed.

The new bearing and my regular Lendrum flyer fit just fine on the Butterfly spinner.  There isn't any particular pulling like the WooLee Winder does when changing directions.  The most difficult thing will be remembering to move the flyer hook as I'm not in the habit of doing that with the WooLee Winder!


Theresa said...

Hello, I found your blog when googling for the Butterfly spinner. I've had one for years and would like to order another belt but saw that you had no luck with contacting Jerry. I know he was in poor health and hope he is alright.

Reading this post though has got me to wondering about how you fixed up your butterfly with a Lendrum whorl. I too have a Lendrum (and all the whorls) but use the fast flyer on mine almost exclusively. I would like to spin finer weights on the Butterfly as well, and if I can hook up the regular Lendrum flyer to it, that would work great. I'll probably order the bearing like you did but, alas, I still would need another belt as the one I've got only fits the middle whorl on the woolee winder whorl. I need one that is a bit smaller to fit the smaller distance on the whorls to crank up the speed. Have you ordered a belt to fit from someone else? Or have any idea where I could get one?

Theresa - Under The Son Farm Shetlands

Shelley McClanahan said...

Hello Theresa,

I got a replacement belt from Stringtopia in Lebanon, OH. They have belt material that can be cut to whatever length is needed. Their link is

All the best,