My Roy McKnight Suitcase Spinning Wheel

It’s only quite recently that I discovered the existence of this rather quaint and quirky little spinning wheel. It’s quite unique as its contained within a lovely portable wooden suitcase; hence the name ‘the suitcase wheel’. I bet you wouldn’t think a spinning wheel was housed in this suitcase on first glance would you?

Suitcase wheel 14

I am delighted to say that I am now the proud owner of this cute little wheel thanks to Karen on the Ravelry Australian Spinning Wheels online forum. Karen put me in contact with Jean who was selling it. The wheel arrived this week and now becomes my 12th spinning wheel!

As you can see by the measurements, it is extremely compact and hardly takes up any room at all!

Suitcase wheel 01a

The suitcase wheel was made by Roy McKnight from Birkdale (eastern suburbs of Brisbane). From information on the Australian Spinning Wheels site (administered by Mary K from New Zealand), the suitcase wheels only weigh about 4kg (9lbs). Mr McKnight also made wool winders and other spinning accessories; as so often, he was encouraged by a wife who was a spinner. The picture on Mary’s website is of a wheel from 1992 so I am assuming Mr McKnight made these wheels in the early 1990s and possibly the late 1980s. Is there anyone else out there who either has one of these wheels or knows anything about Roy McKnight? I would really love to hear from you via the Contact Me section of my blog (along the top banner).

Suitcase wheel 02

This is the angle (see below) the left  hand part of the suitcase needs to be positioned to enable you to spin. You also need to have a small mat under the wheel to stabilise it.

Suitcase wheel 03

I am assuming the name on the lower left hand inside of the wheel could be the original owner.

Suitcase wheel 05

The bobbins are quite small; as you can see from the number of hooks

Suitcase wheel 06

Three bobbins are held on the ‘lazy kate’. I have five bobbins in total which is a bonus!

Suitcase wheel 07

The wheel is lacquered so there is no need to oil the wood at all.

Suitcase wheel 08

It is a most ingenious spinning wheel.

Suitcase wheel 09

Everything folds in neatly.

Suitcase wheel 11

The flyer (without the bobbin) slips in at the bottom of the suitcase.

Suitcase wheel 12

It reminds me of a dolls house for grown ups!

Suitcase wheel 13

The previous owner had started spinning this orange wool and packed the rest of the wool top in the parcel so I finished spinning it.

Suitcase wheel 16

I am really happy to be the owner of this wheel as it is a part of the history of where I live. It will be perfect to take on my cruise next year. It’s not a wheel I would use for all my spinning as the bobbins are quite small and will only hold a small amount of spinning but for its compactness and portability, it’s the ideal wheel to take away when you want to do a bit of spinning. And, of course, I am sure it will invite lots of interest and comments from spinners and non-spinners alike!

Suitcase wheel 04

If you have a suitcase wheel, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how often you use it and what you think of it.

My wheel has # 56 stencilled in the inside of the suitcase.

Until next time…



4 thoughts on “My Roy McKnight Suitcase Spinning Wheel

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