Tools Day: Electric Bobbin Winder

Every time I use my bobbin winder I am reminded of how fortunate I am. It’s electric. No one has an electric bobbin winder quite like mine, because no one else has my Steve to invent things like he does. He watched me using my nifty hand-turn Swedish bobbin winder many times. Steve decided he could make something better. A motor and an on-off light switch, with a variable-speed foot pedal. It’s perfect! I love it. But mostly, I love Steve.

Home built electric bobbin winder. Works like a charm.

Electric bobbin winder holds any length of quill. The quill fits tightly onto a tapered dowel that extends from the bobbin winder.

The leather quilting thimble keeps me from burning or cutting my thumb as the thread speeds by while I guide it onto the fast spinning quill on the bobbin winder.

I am on my very last tube of this shade of light blue. Will there be enough on this quill to finish the last blue section of the last of four towels in this color scheme, plus enough for the light blue hem?? Somehow, I think a tightly- and perfectly-shaped quill will be able to weave just a little bit further… (You can see the beginning of this set of four towels HERE.)

Just enough light blue to finish the hem!

Small amount of light blue left on the quill. Maybe I can use the remainder for a couple of small stripes on another towel.

Yes! Finished the hem with a little bit of light blue left to spare. This is a good day!

May you always have just enough of what you need.



  • Jean says:

    Would your wonderful Steve be prepared to share how he turned the motor into a bobbin winder? I have an old electric sewing machine motor but cannot figure out how to insert a metal rod into the motor. My husband has had a look but it seems the motor is sealed in some way.
    Oh that you could help! The battery operated drill is dying on me!

    • Karen says:

      Steve says he used a new 1700 rpm motor that has the shaft sticking out of it. He connected a motor arbor to the shaft and an electric drill chuck to the motor arbor. Let me know if it would help you to have a list of parts and where he ordered them from.

      Happy weaving and winding,

  • JeAn says:

    Thank you so much. A list of parts would be a great help although as I live in France where he bought them probably won’t be so good.

    I will look on amazon and see if I can figure it out. I fear the motor I have may be too powerful so I will have to look for one of those too.

    Thank you again.

    • Karen says:

      France? Wow, it’s nice to have you stop in here.
      Steve will put a list together for you this evening and I can email it to you tomorrow. He ordered the motor and some of the other parts from amazon. Steve says it’s the speed that makes a difference, not the power.


  • Deb Lervaag says:

    Hi Karen, My husband is trying to figure out how to turn the sewing machine motor and foot feed into a motorized fabric cutter for rag rugs. We have an old rotary cutter, and are stalled at getting a rod to fit into the motor and the cutter, I really like your version of the winder and am wondering how to adapt it to the cutter. Also could be something you could use for your rugs. I love the pattern of the rosepath rugs and have made them for years as well, do you ever blend your colors with 2 different fabrics on your shuttle? Deb

    • Karen says:

      Deb, what a great idea to make a motorized fabric cutter! I’m going to ask Steve what he thinks about that. I’m sure he’ll have some ideas.

      Yes, rosepath rugs seem to be my favorite. I keep coming back to them! I have only blended 2 fabrics on my shuttle one time. That was some time ago; I’ll have to try that again. Thanks for the tip!!

      Happy Weaving,

  • Helen says:

    Karen, would you be kind enough to mail me a list of parts so I can make my own bobbin winder? I don’t hav a Steve, so I must do it myself. Thanks,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Helen, Yes, I’m happy to send you a parts list for the electric bobbin winder. Look for an email from me later today.

      All the best,

  • Helen says:


    I just realized the email never came. Please resend. Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Helen, I’m so sorry that you didn’t receive that email. I see now that the email was returned. Would you send me an email, that way I’ll be sure to have your correct email address. Send it to karen at warpedforgood . com. And I’ll send the email to you right away.


  • […] Swedish hand bobbin winder is one of those tools. A bobbin winder is essential. Steve made a superb electric bobbin winder for me that I normally use. But at our Texas hill country home, my Swedish bobbin winder comes into […]

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