Where are the Instructions for my Hitchhiker Wheel?
The Hitchhiker Wheel is a compact spinning wheel made by The Merlin Tree and also available at several of the larger spinning suppliers ... Woodland Woolworks in Oregon, The Woolery in North Carolina, and others. Besides its small size (it fits in a large tote bag!) it is unique in having direct drive ... there is no drive band!
Because I recently helped a friend sell one, I ended up making these videos in lieu of written instructions.
Since there's more than one person out there with a Hitchhiker, and perhaps those looking to buy it on-line in their wheel search, perhaps this can help more people. So here it is for you ... Hitchhiker Instructions.
Assembling the flyer, part 1
Putting the flyer onto the Hitchhiker (see part 2 ... you're not actually ready to spin once this is done)
Assembling the flyer, part 2
After putting the flyer on, attach the brake band to the bobbin. *Then* you are ready to spin :-)
As my daughter noted, I obscured the picture when I drew the leader on the bobbin through the orifice of the wheel. The orifice is the metal tube at the front of the flyer; there's a hole in the top of it and at the (working) end ... you put the hook through from the end to the top, grab the leader yarn, and pull it through.
Maintenance: oil the flyer spindle shaft
I didn't take a video of this ... the main point to oil is the spindle on the flyer -- the metal rod that the bobbin rotates on. Beyond that, look for rotating or bendy parts that may need oil. If it squeaks, try some oil. Don't oil the ratio-wheels, they are fixed on the metal rod and need to be dry to get traction on the main spinning wheel.
Changing the ratio
The Hitchhiker comes with 3 ratios; these are changed by changing the little wheel that sits on the shaft below the flyer assembly. This is done with the flyer removed, see separate videos on that step.
Removing the flyer, part 1
Step one to take the flyer off, is simply to remove the drive band. See step 2 for the rest ...
Removing the flyer, part 2
Once the brake band is off (part 1), you unscrew the flyer and put it in the hole on the foot-treadle for storage.
I'd note that I do not cover how to spin on the Hitchhiker ... in this, it is much like other wheels. There are great videos and books out there on that topic, and if you can find a local guild or mentor, that's even better!
Re books ... I've heard really good things about Start Spinning by Maggie Casey, though I don't have it (yet!). I learned with Hands On Spinning by Lee Raven, another good book for learning. The best video is Patsy Zawitowski's Spinning Wool - Basics & Beyond ... her presentation matches pretty much how I run my learn-to-spin class (and I didn't even watch it until a student asked me what I thought of it and loaned me her copy!) If you are mathematical, I'd also recommend Mabel Ross's Essentials of Handspinning; if you are more the free spirit type, then Creative Spinning by Daykin and Deane is a good learn-to-spin plus dive into creative yarns book.
Find a local guild if you can ... their experience is priceless, and if you sit next to some-one at a spin-in, they can't help but pass along advice, even if they claim not to know how to teach (that's been my experience here). Or, a wool show if there's no guild.
If you'd like more information on the Hitchhiker wheel, Google turns up a few good blog entries as well as vendor pages on the search "merlin tree hitchhiker".