Other Tools

This collection of general purpose tools includes the McMorran Yarn Balance and Linen Testers. They are all designed to help knitters and weavers increase their productivity and enjoyment of their craft.

Linen Tester/Magnifiers

These magnifying glasses are designed to help in a number of textile related activities. Weavers can use them to help count the number of picks per inch as they weave to ensure they are maintaining the proper beat. These testers also allow the weaver to check their woven fabric for consistency and errors. For the textile worker or historian, they allow them to analyze unknown fabric to determine as much about it including ends per inch, picks per inch and weave structure. Many weavers carry one with them at all times just in case they come across an interesting textile and want to have a better look at it.

All three magnifying glasses are pictured above (left) ready for use and folded (right) down for storage (click on the pictures to view a larger image). All are shipped in a cardboard box and the Small (C) version also includes a vinyl pouch. The Large (A) and Medium (B) sizes are made of plastic with a single lens system while the small linen tester is made of black lacquered zinc alloy and has a double set of optically ground and polished lenses to increase the magnification. Both the Small (C) and Large (A) sized magnifiers have a base graduated in inches and millimeters to allow easy measurement. The large and medium sized are also large enough to use for general purpose magnifying tasks like threading needles and reading fine print.

Size Large Medium Small
Shown As: A B C
Magnification 3X 2X 6X
Material Plastic Plastic Metal
Lens Diameter 4" (10.2 cm) 1 1/2" (4 cm) 1" (2.5 cm)
(Length x Width x Height)
Open 6 1/2" x 5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
(16.4 x 13.4 x 18.5 cm)
2 3/4" x 2 1/4" x 3"
(6.7 x 5.6 x 7.4 cm)
2" x 1 1/2" x 2 1/8"
(4.7 x 3.7 x 5.4 cm)
Closed 6 1/2" x 5 1/4" x 1 1/2"
(16.4 x 13.4 x 4 cm)
2 3/4" x 2 1/4" x 5/8"
(6.7 x 5.6 x 1.6 cm)
2" x 1 1/2" x 1/2"
(4.7 x 3.7 x 1.4 cm)
Price No Longer
No Longer

McMorran Yarn Balance

The McMorran Balance is used to quickly determine the length of a skein of yarn by calculating the yards/per pound using a small sample piece. The instrument, shown in use in the picture to the right, consists of a clear transparent plexi-glass base with notches at the top to support a pivoting balance beam.

To operate the balance, a small sample of the yarn being tested is hung over the beam at the point where a small notch has been cut out. The yarn is trimmed with a pair of scissors until the beam balances. After this is done, its length is measured and multiplied by a constant value to give the yards/pound of the yarn being tested.

This wonderful precision instrument is used in the textile industry the world over and was designed by H. McMorran a former lecturer in Textile Testing at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, Scotland.

This version of the balance has a plexi-glass top and foam inserts that allow the fragile balance beam to be neatly stored inside the container, cushioned from any damage (see picture at left). The plexi-glass base of the balance is 2 1/4" (5.8 cm) square and 5" (12.6 cm) high. When stored with the lid on, the height of the box is 6 1/8" (15.6 cm).

Part Number Description Price
MCMORRAN McMorran Yarn Balance No Longer

Rag/Cloth Cutter

The Fraser 500-1 table-top cloth slitter speeds up the process of cutting cloth into strips for woven, hooked or braided rugs. Its design ensures uniform cutting widths and is capable of cutting multiple cloth strips in one pass of the fabric.

The operation of the machine is simple with the operator inserting the cloth in one end of the cutter and pulling it through as he/she turns the crank. The cutter is well made for years and years of use, weighs 5 pounds (2.26 kg) and is designed to be clamped to any flat surface.

A motorized version of the 500-1 is also available. It plugs into a standard 120 VAC household electrical outlet and a foot control (not shown) is used to switch it on and off and to adjust the speed. The motorized cutter is shown to the left.

Inter-changeable cutting blades can be used with the cloth guide to set the cut cloth strip width from 1/16" (1.59 mm) to 2" (5.08 cm). One cutter blade of the customer's choice along with a wrench for changing the blades are included (see list of blades below). If the preferred blade is not specified on the order a "Number 1 Special" blade will be included. This is the most common blade used by weavers as it allows the width of the cut fabric to be controlled by the unit's cloth guide. Extra blades can be ordered as well as a replacement wrench.

Part Number Description Price
CUTTER Fraser Model 500-1 Cutter
(comes with wrench and choice of cutter blade)
M-CUTTER Motorized Model 500-1 Cutter
(comes with wrench, choice of cutter blade and foot speed control)

Cutter Blades

The list below shows the cutter blades currently available for the Fraser 500-1 Cloth Slitter. The Special Blades shown below are equipped with a rubber ring to friction feed the material being cut. These Special blades can also be used in the Fraser Model E cutter.

Part Number Cutter
Blade Size
# of Strips Price
BLADE1S # 1 Special 1/2 to 2 inch
(12.7 to 50.8 mm)
1 $59.95
BLADE8S # 8 Special 1/4 inch
(6.35 mm)
BLADE9S # 9 Special 3/8 inch
(9.53 mm)
BLADE10S # 10 Special 1/2 inch
(12.7 mm)

Note: Blades with cutting widths ranging from 1/16" (1.59 mm) to 5/16" (7.94 mm) in 1/32" (0.79mm) increments are available by special order from Camilla Valley Farm Weavers' Supply. Most are Regular blades without the rubber ring to automatically feed the cloth and these will also fit the Bliss Model A cutter. Depending upon cutting width these cut from 2 to 6 strips simultaneously. Please contact us for pricing and delivery information.

Electric Cone Winder

This Electric Cone Yarn Winder makes it a simple task to produce professional looking cones of yarn from skeins or balls. Weavers who use sectional warping will be able to create their own cones of yarn to make the warping process easier. Fibre producers can make their products more attractive to weavers who prefer coned yarns to skeins. Cones also are easier to store, ship and stack on shelves.

The cone winder incorporates many features found in professional cone winding systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars. This design brings the technology down to a cost level affordable for small producers and individual handweavers. The cone winder is perfect for weaving guilds, who wish to offer the the use of a shared Cone Winder to their members.

Sturdy Design

The Cone Winder is well designed for many years of use with a metal frame and moulded plastic cover. The internal electric motor uses a chain drive mechanism rather than belts to both turn the cone and move the feeder arm yarn back and forth along the cone surface to create an even wind. A side mounted toggle switch is used to turn the winder on and off. The winder sits on three rubber feet that keep it from walking across the surface it is used on.

Tension Control

A 14 inch heavy duty steel arm allows the tension to be set for each different type of fibre via the number of times the yarn is looped around the arm. While large multi-strand soft yarn will not need any tension and will wind easily, finer, harder yarns may require one or two turns on the tension arm. Capacity of each cone ranges from 8 ounces for the larger soft yarn to 16 ounces for the finer, harder yarns. The tension arm is easily removable for storage.

Knot Finder

The cone winder includes a unique "knot finder" that automatically stops the winding process upon discovery of a knot. By threading the yarn through a simple lever attached to the power switch, the cone winder will automatically turn off when a knot is detected. Multiple settings allow the size of knot to be specified allowing the mechanism to be used with different yarn thicknesses. If knots are not a problem, this feature can be easily disabled.

Feeder Arm

To make sure the yarn is applied evenly to the cone as it is wound, a feeder arm moves back and forth along the length of the cone. This maximizes the amount of fibre on each cone and produces a uniform professional look to each cone. The feeder arm flexes to stay close to the cone as it increases in size and the yarn can be threaded through the feeder arm after the cone is mounted eliminating the frustration found in systems where if threading has not been done in a specific order, rethreading must occur.

Easy to Use

To operate the cone winder, one end of the yarn to be coned is attached to the notch at the base of the cone and the cone is then inserted on the spindle of the cone winder. The spindle has a rubber ring that is designed to allow the cone to be wedged on securely to ensure it does not come off during the winding process. The yarn is then fed through the Feeder Arm, around the tension arm and optionally through the knot finder. Winding can then begin by turning on the power switch!

If the cones of yarn are being wound from skeins, a Swift is a perfect companion to the cone winder. By attaching the two together, the cones can be wound automatically allowing the operator to focus on preparing the next skein for winding.

The Cone Winder includes a one year warranty. It ships ready for use complete with a set of instructions, the knot finder attachment and 5 cardboard cones. Additional cones are available below. The Cone Winder (without the tension arm installed) is 14 inches (36 cm) long, 7 inches (18 cm) wide and 4 1/2 inches (12 cm) tall.

Part Number Description Price
CONEWIND Electric Cone Winder with 5 cones $355.00

Cardboard/Plastic Cones

Three sizes of cones are available for use in yarn cone winders. They can also be used in a wide variety of other crafts or projects including rockets, castles and anything else that requires a cone shape!.

The two sizes shown on the left are made of heavy gauge cardboard and are notched to provide a fast way to start winding the fiber. The pointed cone shown at the far left in the picture are are designed to fit the Electric Cone Winder shown above or other similar devices. These are brand new cones and have not been previously used so they have a uniform size and design.

We also carry used cardboard cones in the wider size shown to the right in the picture on the left side. These are on an "as available" basis and may differ slightly in appearance (ie. many have a colour band around the top and/or bottom) but all are in functioning condition.

The cones shown on the right side picture are made of durable plastic are available in Red, White and Blue! They are 7 inches tall, about 1 inch wide at the top and 2 inches wide at the bottom. The inside diameter at the bottom is 1 13/16 inches. They have a ribbed surface along their length to keep slippery yarn from sliding, a notch at the bottom to start the yarn and are in great "almost new" condition.

Dimensions for all three cone sizes are shown below. Cones can be stacked for storage and can be re-used over and over again.

As well as winding yarn, some ideas for using the cones include Space Ships, Lighthouses, Christmas Decorations and even to make the towers for a castle project. Some Florists use the cones upside down as holders for wedding bouquets and our cones (with and without yarn) have even appeared on the big screen in the movie Public Enemies with actors Johnny Depp and Christian Bale!

Note: While low in cost, cardboard and plastic cones are fairly heavy. The shipping price is based upon weight and not the price and shipping price per cone is lower as quantities increase!

Part Number Description Dimensions Condition Price (each)
Height Top Diameter Bottom Diameter
CONE Regular Cardboard Cones 7 inches
(17.8 cm)
1/2 inch
(1.3 cm)
2 5/8 inches
(6.7 cm)
New $0.75
W-CONE Wide Cardboard Cones 6 3/4 inches
(17.1 cm)
1 3/8 inches
(3.5 cm)
2 7/8 inches
(7.3 cm)
Used $0.45
P-CONE-R Red Plastic Cone 7 inches
(17.8 cm)
1 1/16 inch
(2.7 cm)
1 15/16 inches
(4.9 cm)
Used $0.40
P-CONE-W White Plastic Cone
P-CONE-B Blue Plastic Cone

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Gift Certificate
If you are looking for a gift for a Knitter or Weaver and can't figure out what they want, a Camilla Valley Farm Gift Certificate is an excellent way to ensure you get the perfect gift! We can also email gift certificates if you are running out of time!

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Last Updated: Monday March 24th, 2014