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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Newest Addition to Our Family

No, there are no new pets or fetuses in my future - sorry if I got your hopes up. However there is a special new addition to the creative aspect of the household - a new wheel! There was a time when I thought people with multiple spinning wheels were a little bit silly. Now that I have three (yes... three. But I only paid for one of them - that's something right?) I get to eat crow. There is a perfectly good reason! They serve different purposes! They are beautiful home decor! They're collectible!
Meet my newest baby, Cricket:


I named her Cricket (yeah I name my wheels...) because when I disassembled her to see how much work she needs I realized that, with the mother-of-all and drive wheel removed, she looks just like one. It is a little known fact that I'm pretty phobic of crickets, but I will be making an exception in her case.
I don't know much about this wheel's past. She was given to me by Jake's boss, who bought her from someone who didn't have room to keep a "useless" family heirloom. He's an avid collector of... stuff, but he decided this wheel needed use, not collecting. I am so incredibly grateful for his generosity. All I currently know about this wheel is that she's over 100 years old, and came from somewhere Northern European. I am almost positive this is a handmade wheel, as the wood has funny inconsistencies - one of the legs is partly made of bark, and there's a whopping big knot on the back edge of the table. There are no maker's marks.

She needs work - cleaning, sanding, refinishing, glueing, a new driveband and tension system (I think she's double drive? And has a single drive option too?), a new bit of leather to hook up the footman with the treadle. As you can see below, the flyer's been broken and glued back together. I all seems pretty sturdy though, which is great. The bobbin is the cutest little thing. Some time soon I'll get a picture of the bobbins from my three different wheels all lined up. It's a great illustration of just how different these three lovely machines are.

Thing is, I don't know much about saxony wheels. I'll figure it all out, for sure, but for the moment I'm at a bit of a loss. How does one even put a double drive band on?? How does it work?

With the wheel came this ancient pair of hand cards:

They're useless (leather on the cloth is shot, pins are all bent, handle joints are wobbly, and the wood isn't worth the effort it would take to fix them) but they're part of the wheel's history, and that MHS stamp is the only identifying mark on the whole mess.

If you have any hints or tips about saxony wheels or wheel restoration, please leave me a comment! Know of any good resources (preferably online) I could use to round out my wheel knowledge?

4 comments:

  1. She's gorgeous! What a special heirloom!

    -kk

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  2. Wow, she's beautiful! Doesn't it just thrill your soul to touch something so old and feel all the hands that have touched it, since it began as plain pieces of wood and in all its hours of hard work? Congratulations on your new addition!

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  3. KK - Aint she a beaut? You'll have to come see her some time when you're in town!

    Salamander - That's exactly how I feel about this wheel! I am particularly intrigued by the marks of wear (of which there are many!) that show this wheel had a very busy previous life. It is so strange to me that the person who made it and the people who used it, probably as a souce of income, are long dead. If only it could talk!

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  4. Susan (suwinning on ravelry)February 16, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Cricket looks beautiful in your front window. I learned a lot by reading your post, too.
    Sigh .. I wish my mom hadn't decided to include my great grandma's spinning wheel in her massive purging efforts. I guess I can go to the museum and stand behind the rope and visit her .. the spinning wheel, I mean.

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