What’s Happening–Bulky Flyer Head and Niddy Noddy

Niddy Noddy

We’ve been getting some messages that the troops are restless. Just where is that bulky flyer? What the heck is Schacht up to anyway? Why don’t we have that bulky flyer NOW? And, really, just how long does it take to make a niddy noddy?

From the outside, things seem obvious. From the inside, it’s about process and problem solving. Part of what makes us who we are is the fact that we try to make the products we hear consumers want. Also, it is important to us, and particularly, Barry Schacht, that our products are unique and designed with the end user in mind. They must function for their intended purpose. In other words, form follows function.

Here’s a sampling of some of the questioning that goes on: Why make a niddy noddy like what’s already on the market? Does the world really need another niddy noddy? What are the important attributes of a niddy noddy? Size, weight, design….? What is a problem with current niddy noddies that we should try to solve? With all of the other questions answered, this last one is the meaty one and gives a clue to our process.

In my mind there are two main problems with current niddy noddies: If the cross arm is pinned, it is very difficult and sometimes almost impossible to remove the pin when the noddy is fully loaded with yarn. How can we solve this? The second problem is the cross arms not fitting securely on the center posts, which cause them to move around during winding. Can’t we make this better?

Finally, it is important for a tool to be handsome, as well as functional. What materials? What wood? After working on too-many-to-count prototypes off and on since…well SOAR one year in Potosi…we finally have a design that answers all of our niddy noddy criteria. We’re almost finished ordering all of the components and should have all the parts made in-house ready for assembly in a couple of months. As soon as we know our costs of components, we’ll have a price….and hopefully, a name.

Bulky Head

Ok, so that’s the niddy noddy news, but what we hear is a lot of chatter about the bulky head. If you were at SOAR, then you perhaps tried our bulky head prototype. The word prototype really means work in process. Taking products out for people to try is an important part of designing new products. Through these comments we then consider if we need to make changes to our design. In the case of the bulky head, the feedback was that the orifice needed to be larger—we increased the size to 7/8” which then meant we needed a new orifice bearing (a great big honkin’ one) which then necessitated a new design of the front maidens, as well as a redesign of the sliding hook—which then wasn’t large enough for the yarn going through that very large orifice. And then, because there is only so much clearance—if we want to be able to offer this product to customers who already have a Ladybug or Matchless—we had to really innovate a solution.

But these kinds of problems offer challenges that move you in a direction of true innovation. And that, my friends, is what’s going on right now: solving the flyer hook challenge.

Rest assured, we are moving forward and working on a product that will be the best we can make to serve the purpose we’ve heard you need and want.

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Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high-quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family-owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.