Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Spinning Wheel

While we're waiting for me to tease the rest of Kai Llama's fiber (see Spinning Kai: Teasing) and get it ready to spin, I thought you might like to see my spinning wheel.  It's an Ashford Traditional Single-Drive kit wheel, made in New Zealand.

Although I specify "single-drive," I believe that was the only kind of drive available back when I ordered it in 1975 or so. Now there are lots more choices, and even the traditional wheel that is sold today looks a bit different in design.

I assembled this wheel completely by myself, and that made me feel very proud, as it was the first time I had ever attempted such a project. You can see the assembly directions here. By putting it together, I handled every piece and understood its function, and how it was connected to the next piece. That knowledge came in handy when I later needed to adjust or tune up the wheel.

Way back then, the kit cost $95.00 delivered to the closest spinning and weaving shop, which was in Puyallup, Washington. I see that unfinished wheels cost between four and five hundred dollars now!

One of the things I have always loved about spinning is how the names of the parts of the wheel hearken back to another long-ago time: The maidens, the mother-of-all, and the footman. You can see a diagram of a wheel and its parts here.

If you are thinking of getting a wheel, I would recommend that you buy a kit and put the wheel together yourself. Another suggestion: Don't store the wheel out in a hot, dry garage like I did. It's been a real job to get it back into working order after it was exposed to such extreme temperatures! Never again...


Birdman said...

I'll just spin some tales.

Birdman said...

Top the Green Monster? Lucky you... I can dream. Seeing the A's then. Enjoy!

Ms. Becky said...

thank you for this information about spinning wheels. I took a class while living in Oregon years ago and LOVED spinning wool. a wheel was one of the things on my wish list for years and years. think I'll move it further on up towards the top! I look forward to seeing that spun wool! happy day to you Clairz.

Joyful said...

That's a great deal on the spinning wheel and it's so great you put it together yourself! I see you've taken to all knitting related things! It's a great hobby.

becky said...

Hi Clair,
let me just say- what a cool thing you are doing! I would imagine spinning is a meditation of sorts... sort of like wheel throwing pottery would be to me.
I love that you put it together yourself! I always feel proud, too when I do things like that. I have put together bookshelves, tables (you know, the one's that come in a box and have very confusing directions!) I once changed out a toilet & have just recently changed the lock on my door (but only because my maintenance man believes he has seen the devil in person.) LOL?
Hope your summer is going well... sorry to hear about the little caged dog. :( I wonder why some people get animals (or have children) only to neglect them.

Stephanie said...

I'm always happy to see another spinner. My second wheel (is it a bad sign that I now have a second wheel?) arrived last night and I assembled it. You're quite right, it's very satisfying to put all those parts together and then sit down to create something incredibly useful and practical.

BTW, my first wheel is a double treadled Schacht (huge but very versatile) and the second wheel is a pocket wheel (portable!).

Linda said...

Ha! We have the opposite problem with garage storage - cold and damp!
Sounds as you were very wise to assemble the spinning wheel yourself. I don't suppose there are too many spinning wheel repair shops on the standard high street.