Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Wheel Story

When I was out in California a couple of months ago, we were enjoying our supper out on the deck. After the meal, her mother asked if I wanted to see her spinning wheel. Heck yeah I want to see it, I didn't know she had one. So we went to her sewing room, and there stood a beautiful, antique spinning wheel. It turns out it had been left at my friend's Dad's shop many years ago. He is a woodworker/furniture maker and the maker of my peg loom. Somebody had brought it in for repair, but then never returned to pay for the repair or claim it. I stood there admiring it, oohing and ahhing over the beautiful turned wood and the wheel that turns with nary a wobble. Her mother said, Good, it's yours. Wait, huh? Yep, they wanted me to have it, because I could actually make use of it and appreciate it fully. I about fell over.

Here she is. Isn't she pretty? She has a tiny little orifice, and some extra turned parts (distaff?)the rest of my wheels don't have. I think she is a flax wheel. She is double-drive, and with the telephone help of a spinning friend, I was able to make a drive band out of some kitchen cotton yarn. I've never had a double-drive wheel, so it took me a while to figure out how it works. She spins beautifully! I have part of a bobbin done. Do you want to know the part I love the best about her though?

See those grooves there on the flyer? The yarn fits in there as you're spinning. Here, maybe a close up will help.

Just think of how many yards of thread/yarn has been spun on this wheel to wear grooves in the wood. Isn't that the coolest damn thing? Yes, this is the kind of thing I think about. Just think of the stories this wheel could tell. I suspect she is old enough, maybe she made it to California on a covered wagon?

Hey, wouldn't that be a good book? The story of the lives of the spinners who have treadled her? Maybe give it a bit of a fantasy twist, with a modern day spinner going back in time. If there can be magic mirrors, why not a magic spinning wheel? Somebody needs to write that book. I'd read it. In the meantime, I'll just sit here and imagine while I spin.

Thank you Liesel and Dieter. I am honored to have her.


Cindy said...

What a beautiful beautiful wheel! You lucky!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you really ought to write that magic spinningwheel story.

I know a lot of people who would love to read it.

You have numerous gifts, including writing.

Mama Pea said...

You must have been a very good girl for the spirits (or Liesel and Dieter) to have gifted that beautiful spinning wheel to you. What a delight!

Eyes to See said...

She is a beauty! There is a famous children's book which has an old woman who is a spiritual guide for a small child who is a princess. The old woman is always at her spinning wheel when the child find her. The title is The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald. It is considered fantasy. No time travel. MacDonald was an inspiration for the more famous Christian author C.S.Lewis. MacDonald also wrote 'At the Back of the Northwind' He wrote scores of other books, but those two have remained in print. He died in 1905.

rilera said...

What a beauty! I thought the same thing when I saw those gouges. Very cool!

amyinbc said...

GASP!! What a beauty!!

dave said...

I am not a spinner, but as a sculptor/wood worker I can say those are just beautiful.
Too many old tools end up in "collections" that no one uses or even knows how to use.
Glad this one will be used and loved.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the second poster!
Writing is among your numerous gifts.
Think about your story idea while you spin. You never know what will happen!
Just look at J.K. Rowling! She thought up Harry Potter riding the train, and just started writing it down. :-)

Happy Spinning!!
~Amanda (gr8aunt)

R.G.Sell said...

Congratulations! I think it's beautiful and you should get started on your book right away!

Lynn said...

This wheel must have spun a lot of flax, as the fiber is harsher and more likely to have cut those grooves in the wood than wool would do. It's a lovely wheel and I'm sure is pleased to be used again. Wooden musical instruments produce a better tone if they are played regularly and I'm sure the same is true of spinning wheels. Your yarn will just get better and better!

Anonymous said...

I am a spinner and so impressed by this wheel and it's no doubt history. Gorgeous wheel and so wonderful you will USE it!

I have an antique wheel too, dates back to 1825. So enjoyable to spin on her and enjoy her beauty :)