So last week I talked about what materials I like for a drive band. What has worked for me and what hasn’t. I am focusing on cotton drive bands rather than stretchy drive bands because that’s where most of the questions come in.

So today I thought I would concentrate on how often to change your drive band and how to tie one on. But first, I finished lastr week with a question abut using crochet cotton for a drive band. It’s pretty inexpensive, the twist looked like it would be good and it’s easy to get. So I tried it on my 30″ Saxony because that’s the wheel that I use the most lately and so I knew I would be able to put a lot of hours on the band by today. The one I chose to use was the Size 3 I had Aunt Lydia’s on hand. It looks like this:

crochet cotton


I love it. I love it. I love it. Also, it’s less expensive than the carpenter’s chalk line! and you get a lot. It’s about the same diameter of the chalk line too. I will try a size 8 or 10 next to see how that works for my fine spinning but I’ve been getting a pretty fine thread with this drive band. Here’s some evidence.



That’s a pretty fuzzy picture but you get the idea.

Ok. So on tho the changing and tying. I change my drive bands pretty frequently which is why price is an issue. I generally change after every 20 to 40 hours of spinning. That’s a pretty wide gap but I pay attention to how the band is looking and holding up every time I sit down to spin. It’s part of my routine.

1. Make sure everything is still aligned correctly (kids bump the wheel and stuff)

2. Oil all the places I feel need it. Always the front orifice bearing, bobbin shaft and rear bearing. Sometimes footmen and depending on the wheel, the uprights where the wheel bearing is.

3. Check the drive band.

When I check the drive band I am looking to make sure the knot is still good and there is no fraying.


You can see in the picture above where the drive band is fraying and is getting ready to break. This one has been on this wheel for a little too long.


This is another band from a different wheel. It’s ready to be changed too. See how fuzzy the yarn is and how the one on the left is thinner than the one on the right? It would probably break there which spinning the next bobbin.

Many spinners used to wax their drive bands to help them last longer. I’ve never done that but can see how it could help, but the wax will add a bit of grab and so those fine yarns I like to spin would be a tiny bit more difficult. If you like to spin a little thicker then beeswax might be something to try.

Since I change bands pretty often I don’t get fancy with tying them. Lots of people use just a square knot. Here’s how:


I actually like to use a knot that I don’t know the name of but it’s  basically the square knot with an extra wrap at the bottom and top.

20140312_140619I like it because it is kind of flat and longer so I feel less of a bump when it goes over the whorls.

I don’t often splice or sew the ends of the drive band so I don’t have anything to show here. When I have done that it hasn’t made a very big difference and so, due to a giant case of the lazies, I don’t do it. Knitty had a great article about it though in 2011. Check it out.

So that’s all I have for today. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.


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