08 May, 2009

HitchHiker: the Science Fiction Fan’s Spinning Wheel

If you don’t get my literary allusion in the blog title, Don’t Panic. You can Google it.

This is the HitchHiker™. See the cutout in the handle?

And this is its maker, David Paul of The Merlin Tree in Albany, VT, at his booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Paul developed the HitchHiker™ and the RoadBug ™ spinning wheels four years ago because his wife and the other spinners in her guild wanted spinning wheels they could carry on airplanes.

When the wheels were under development, a guild member posted a photo of the prototype on her blog. The results, Paul says, were numerous advance orders and deposits—and ironically a longer wait for the guild members’ original orders. Now there are 660 of his spinning wheels worldwide.

After filling me in on why he is understandably blog-shy, Paul described the two wheels’ attributes. Each feature seemed to be tied to making the wheels work from a spinner's perspective or a construction perspective or both. The bobbins are compatible with standard Ashford bobbins for convenience. The flyers, which use Scotch tension, are large to give extra room for plying. He expects experienced spinners will need to get used to the wheels’ pull and the treadles’ heel and toe action. These wheels are designed to be carry-on compatible and each weighs about nine pounds. They can be pulled out of a carry bag and used without unfolding or set-up.


  1. I have an early model of the HitchHiker Mini - now termed the "RoadBug" and I have to say I love it, it's become my primary wheel and is well loved, something I never would have imagined happening, but something I am greatly delighted with.

    Did you purchase a HitchHiker wheel at the Md Sheep and Wool fest?

  2. Hi AnnieM, good to hear about your experiences with this spinning wheel, and thanks for asking. I didn't purchase one myself. Right now I am a beginner drop spindler (<1 year) with wheel experience that probably clocks under one hour total, maybe two. A stray flax wheel has crept into our place for shelter, though, and is resting in a corner hoping for some small repairs.

  3. I linked back to you and snagged your pic of Dave Paul in my latest post. Hope you don't mind, but this is such a great blog that I wanted to share the link.

  4. I do mind having my photo snagged, actually; please take it down.

  5. Thanks so much! You’re very kind to swap the photo out, and to listen.
    I really enjoyed watching your video of David Paul, great stuff.


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