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A Scarf, Two Hats, and Some Old Spinning Wheels

December 11, 2009

I have been quiet this past summer and fall, but things have been pretty busy around here. Time to catch up.

First, a pretty silk scarf from a Silkworker tussah top called Candy Apple.

The body is the Shetland Chequered Acre pattern.

The perky edging is called Doris.

Fall is a good excuse for hats. I knitted two.

A no-fool-roun’-warm hat from a friend’s BFL handspun, as a joint gift to the fellow who keeps our wheels up and spinning happily.

A fat fuzzy pull-it-down-to-your-chin-warm hat for me from handspun mill end wool and mohair.

The biggest part of my time this fall, though, was taken up with spinning wheels. A (ulp…cough, cough) HOUSEFULof spinning wheels.

My cozy knitting corner.

The rest of the kitchen story.

Today the kitchen, tomorrow the world!

The office crowd.

The studio, storing wheels for long-tem rehab.

And holding most awesome pride of place among the wheels–

A castle wheel and reel from Maine.

The first of my little collection to be restored and returned to useful life is a wheel brought from Sweden by homesteaders in Maple Plain, Minnesota. The story of its remarkable rescue and transformation is too big, and the details too beautiful, to tell now, but here is a glimpse of a grand old Swedish wheel, humming as it makes yarn in a kitchen once again.

It was in pretty tough shape when I bought it on eBay a year ago (Thanks, Detta, for the photo).

With generous help and information from owners of similar wheels (story with names and links to be fully told later), Erwin Nistler of Maple Plain MN repaired broken parts and recreated a host of missing parts.

Now my Swedish wheel stands majestic and tall and beautiful.

The wheel has come back to life, and oh. how it spins. It flies with a feather touch. It runs relaxed and easy, true and fast and fine. The first time I sat down at it I spun half a two ounce tussah top in one sitting.

It is nothing if not consistent.
Tussah singles, first half.

Tussah singles, second half.

The deep grooves in the flyer arms say that this spinning wheel was a well-used production wheel. Now it is back to doing the work it was made to do.

In a few days (and way too many packing boxes between now and then) I will be leaving for Hawaii for the winter.The old wheels will be tucked away in North Dakota, and hopefully my next blog post will begin “Aloha from Molokai……”

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink
    December 11, 2009 4:08 pm

    Jan! I’m overwhelmed with your wheel museum. Such beautiful wheels with so many stories. The silk is just gorgeous, as is your lovely scarf.
    Safe travels to you.

  2. December 11, 2009 4:21 pm

    Wow what an incredible collection!!! I luv antique wheels but don’t feel very capable when it comes to buying one.

  3. kerry permalink
    December 11, 2009 7:15 pm

    I am so glad for these wheels that you give them homes and care for them. I imagine the original owners loved those wheels and are making sure you are followed by good karma!

  4. December 12, 2009 8:47 am

    Wonderful collection of wheels!
    The Swedish wheel is lovely! Such a distaff!
    (very good photo of the wear marks on the flyer!)

  5. December 14, 2009 8:12 am

    You could keep giving us interesting blog posts for a long time, just by doing the story of each wheel in turn! You and Joan Cummer with your collections!

  6. December 14, 2009 9:39 am

    Wow, Jan! I have to agree with Caroline on this one! Tell us more about them!
    Have a safe trip –

  7. December 14, 2009 10:00 am

    Tell me more! Thanks so much for posting about this, and I wish you safe travels to Hawaii. I am also hoping to see you in person sometime soon–Winnipeg really isn’t too far from Grand Forks. Maybe we can plan a visit? Looking forward to many positive things in the future here on the prairies!

  8. December 14, 2009 11:27 am

    Wonderful knitting. I like the lace. The wheels are amazing, I had to look twice to believe all of them were really there!

  9. December 14, 2009 12:24 pm

    Wow! You could host a spin-in and people wouldn’t even have to bring their wheels!

  10. Jen permalink
    December 14, 2009 8:00 pm

    Wow! Now that’s a collection! Safe travels and good work mojo in Hawaii.

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