Tuesday, September 2, 2008

An old family heirloom - a new family treasure

I am the proud new owner of this beautiful Great Wheel. It has no brand name, no signature, no date or identifying marks of any kind. It is a one of a kind, gorgeous piece of art that was handcrafted by a local craftsman. It is a combination of red oak and mahogany. The wheel itself is just two pieces. It has been oiled to perfection and smells wonderful. I was not looking for an additional spinning wheel. I have two Ashford wheels that I love and am very satisfied with. My Ashford Traveller is my wheel of choice when I have a chance to spin.

Ashford Traveller

It wasn't so much the look of the wheel that drew me to it but the history that goes with it. I'm not sure of it's age but I do know it was made locally and used by local families. I don't have all the facts as of yet but I am hoping to gather as much information as possible and compile them in a journal of sorts to keep with the wheel to pass on to my future generations. I am hoping to meet the couple who were the last owner's at some point. It really is a treasure and I feel so lucky to have become the new owner.

After minor repair work the wheel is in perfect working order. I purchased it with the intention of using it to spin on. I have never spun on a Great Wheel prior to today. It is very different from spinning on a conventional wheel. You stand at the wheel rather than sit on a chair or stool. I found I really enjoyed standing at the wheel. It's a very quiet, patient, process. I have it in front of my large picture window, overlooking the farm. A lovely place to stand and relax and I think spinning on this wheel would be a great stress reliever. I'm hoping once winter arrives, I'll fine more time to practice at it. I thought my beginning yarn would look like rope but much to my surprise, it wasn't half bad :)

My first attempt at spinning on the great wheel

Speaking of yarn, I picked up 75 skeins of our finn yarn from the processor last week. It is so soft and just has a wonderful feel to it. The dye pots are going on the stove and we will be busy until we have a rainbow of beautiful colors. Pictures of the finished products coming soon........

The gladiolas just keep coming :)


Joanne said...

Congratulations! I find spinning on a great wheel to be a 'great' joy. I love the back and forth rhythm of it, the graceful feeling, the chance to walk as I spin. I have a very primitive antique (not too useful, actually) and I'm having a new one handmade for me. I can't wait! May you have many hours of spinning pleasure, especially come winter when you are a bit itchy for exercise!

I'm drooling over the Finn yarn, it looks gorgeous.

threecollie said...

Beautiful. My folks ran an antique store when I was a kid and I always loved the spinning wheels.

Pamela said...

What a wonderful legacy for your family.

(I know nothing at all about spinning, but I enjoyed the story of the wheel very much.)

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

What a find - you don't see those out West, unless they have been brought from the East coast. Beautiful yarn!

Deb said...

Thank you - I think the "itch" has arrived early. Everytime I walked by the wheel today I wanted to stop and give it a spin :)

I would love to see a photo of your new wheel when it's completed. What a treasure that will be.

I don't ever remember seeing a wheel growing up as a child or remember anyone in my family having any interest in "fibery" things. Not sure what happened to me :)
You must have seen some wonderful things growing up around an antique store.

Thanks for your comment - I'm glad you enjoyed the story of the wheel. I couldn't wait to post about it. I just find it all so fascinating. If that wheel could only talk!

I've seen very few of these large wheels and only a couple for sale in last few years. It was pure luck on my part that this wheel came my way ~

Christy said...

I really want to learn to spin. It seems so relaxing.