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Of Wheels and Wools — 16 Comments

  1. My first wheel was an old rickity Traditional and now I spin on a Traveller or a walking wheel. Love the view and light.

    • D > A Great Wheel? Oh, that’s wonderful. I should think you have a lot of control. I’ve always been rather intrigued by these, but it has been difficult to afford the expense, space and time on what would be for me a collector’s luxury, rather than an rationally justifiable necessity. But who knows, our priorities are now changing …

  2. What a beautiful spot you have for spinning! I can just about hear the wheels hum and smell the lanolin from the warm wool!

  3. Denise, I saw your comment about the arthritis in your feet. Majacraft is a wheel production company that crafts wheels for people with arthritis. I have tried spinning on one once, and though they are expensive, they are very very nice on lower joints. They spin so easily and smoothly with very little effort, like butter, almost as if they treadle themselves. Despite the higher cost, it could be worthwhile for you to purchase one. After all, you spin for a good portion of your income.

    • D > Tanks for that tip. I’ve checked them out and the certainly look to be well designed and made, with an emphasis on innovation. J says they ought to be more efficient, so easier to work. That said, I can’t imagine spending around £1000 on a spinning wheel without trying it first: and that really is a difficulty of island life!

  4. We’re nearing that season here too! I’ve hardly touched the spinning wheels since late winter and a whole pile of this year’s fleeces are ready and waiting. Looking forward to sitting fireside, tea mug full, and wheel purring!

  5. I have an Ashford Traditional wheel as well. They are wonderful wheels! My Ashford had to be modified at one point when I became disabled due to severe feet pain. My feet couldn’t tolerate the stress and pressure of treadling, so I was able to have a woodworker remove the treadle and connecting rod, turn the wheel around, and attach a handle out of cherry wood with a knob to turn it more easily.

    I can still spin on it and use it to ply, but there are certain techniques that I can’t do on it such as chain plying.

    • D > Your modification is a very interesting one. I have arthritis in my feet, and it was for that reason that we bought an electric spinner (Ashford!), but I found that to be too slow, so J uses that. However my fast-treadling does give me trouble with my feet. I’d like to see if a double-treadle wheel is gentler on my joints. I may have to see if there’s a more powerful electric spinner on the market. We bought our first wheel in 1982, and fell so much in love with spinning that a second wheel was bought as soon as we could afford it (and we had very very little money, back in those days). The first became mine, the second J’s. Later we began to collect a variety of wheels – partly to suit differing projects and working places, but also just for the delight of it! However one of our many house-moves required some pruning of belongings. My original Ashford was so worn by then that we decided to sell it: I do regret that, as it could have been fettled, but I suppose it was logical and rational to sell a worn wheel and keep a nearly-new one. When we started teaching spinning wheel, we bought more wheels – more Ashfords, but also some interesting other makes – partly for introducing students to different tools and techniques, but mostly for our own pleasure. Now that we’re no longer teaching, it’s likely we’ll sell some of the wheels, but making the choice will be difficult. The Ashfords are looked down on by those who choose to spend more money in pursuit of a higher aesthetic, but for us spinning wheels are above all our working tools that help us pay our way in life, and they are in our view well designed, well built, good value for money, easy to use, easy to maintain, very long-lasting, and do the job excellently.

  6. Wow! My new Maintenance Guy (recently retired husband) hasn’t mentioned Spinning Wheel TLC. But I guess that’s OK because he’s working on the barn. Pretty yarn!

    • D > The barn’s priority no doubt, certainly whilst the work is in hand and the weather is fair. J has a barn project planned for next year – that’s very much his department (civil engineering and construction was his profession). But there’s work for outdoors, and work for indoors. So when ‘him-outdoors’ has a few moments on a rainy day (and we know you get them, even in California) or on a cool evening, then it’s good to have an easily-quickly task or two waiting in the workshop. He heeds and outdoor list, and an indoor list!

    • J > Well that’s the first time I’ve come across cup-hook envy! Hah! I bought a pack of solid-brass (not brass-effect) hooks from an old-fashioned hardware shop in Montgomery – a tiny market town in the Welsh Marches : I remember it well! The tobacco tin is one of only two reminders I have of my paternal grandfather. A pipe smoker and an inventive engineer. Tobacco tins of screws, bolts, split pins, washers, tyre valves … shelves of them, thining and dispersing over two generations, my father, and then myself. My grandfather died in 1962, when I was five. Lung cancer.

  7. Pingback:Of Wheels and Wools - The Hebridean Woolshed

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