Friday, 4 December 2009

Antique Spinning Wheel (part 2)

I thought you might enjoy some photos showing how beautiful the wood of my antique spinning wheel is after applying beeswax polish using 0000 grade wire wool and then polishing with a soft cloth.

(The red bow is a cotton cord made with a lucet, just a temporary tie until I get a leather shoe lace.)

I can't do more with this wheel until I have the flyer back and a prototype bobbin to test, that's o.k., I've plenty of other things to attend to.

In the meantime, maybe some of you would like to know about sources of information about old spinning wheels?

I don't have a subscription for The Spinning Wheel Sleuth newsletter, (who want subscriptions paid in US funds from a US bank account) but I do like to look at the web site.

I do have a lovely book by David A. Pennington and Michael B. Taylor, Spinning Wheels and Accessories, published 2004 by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. (224 pages.) This is mostly a book of pictures for people interested in collectable antique spinning wheels, but includes descriptions of the wheels and wheel makers. This is an American book, but there are spinning wheels that travelled to the States from Europe and Scandinavia, so many different traditions are included. I love this book, I don't have many "coffee table" type books, this is I have shelf room for because the lovely pictures are organised into useful chapters and there is a little narrative for each picture.

Spinning Wheels: Spinners and Spinning by Patricia Baines, published by Batsford, first in 1977, reprinted 1979 is a history from the British perspective. (You may recall I also have Patricia Baines' book on handspinning and weaving linen.) Much research in museums and libraries went into the preparation of this book. It starts off with a chapter on "Fibres and their preparation" and then subsequent chapters go through the development of spinning wheels. I like the inclusion of a useful and well written chapter on spinning technique, so once you know the history and traditions of spinning you can get started for yourself.

Spinning and Spinning Wheels by Eliza Leadbeater is a booklet from Shire Publications Ltd.,1979. All the photos are black and white, but very clear and some lovely wheels pictured. Re-reading it I notice several beauties are members of "Author's Collection". I wonder where this collection is today? It is another history, starting with spindles, then the great wheel, and logically moving on to consider the development of the flyer before introducing wheels with flyers. There's a list of "Places to Visit" in the UK at the end, and a short but useful bibliography, which includes the classic I list next -

Spinning Wheels (The John Horner Collection) complied by G.B. Thompson, Director, Ulster Folk Museum, published first in 1964 and re-printed several times. This black-and-white booklet has beautiful line drawings and description of a "all the specimens in the collection" of spinning wheels put together by John Horner who was a member of a family firm in the textile trade and collected wheels on his travels as an adviser on machinery and presented to the museum in 1907-8. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of John Horner's book "The Linen Trade of Europe during the Spinning Wheel Period", but that is rare and expensive.

Also fairly rare, but I have managed to find in a 1977 re-print copy, is the magazine Ciba Review of 1939, "The Spinning Wheel", a collection of scholarly essays by W. Born which gives more space than the other books to very early spinning history and looks at how the earliest spinning wheel was developed in India and migrated east and west.

For 20th century spinning wheels, I like Spinning and weaving with Wool, by Paula Simmons, first printed in 1977, my book is the 4th re-print from 1982. She is an knowledgeable but very opinionated spinner (spinners reading this book may not always agree with Paula!) which makes an interesting read, but my favourite chapter is nearly all pictures, no. 5, "Available Spinning Wheels", 36 different ones pictured and briefly described.

Also, the website New Zealand Spinning Wheels. Many wheels from New Zealand have travelled out around the world, so wherever you are you may have come across some of the wheels for which this website gives pictures and histories.

Now it is time I stopped blogging for this evening, and got back to the CD and book I have from the library for learning German, because I when I have learnt German to read my bandweaving books, I also want to be able to read Sigrid Vogt's book on the history of European Spinning Wheels, Geschichte und Bedeutung des Spinnrads in Europa, which you can see on her website here.


Meg in Nelson said...

Hey, thank you for the link to Mary Knox's New Zealand Wheel site. As with many of these things, it's a monumental personal project and I hope she'll love the "hello"s from all over the world.

Life Looms Large said...

The wheel looks beautiful. The more I hang around blogs that involve spinning, the more tempted I get to give it a try again!!


Leigh said...

The wheel is beautiful, Dot! A real treasure. And as always, your list of spinning wheel resources is a treasure as well.

Anonymous said...

Dot, you really make me long for a spinning wheel, they're just so beautiful! Thanks for all the great information.


Barbara Blundell said...

What a transformation ! A beautiful piece of furniture as well as a useful addition

Meg in Nelson said...

Have a lovely holiday season, Dot! Look forward to more lovely posts in 2010.

Rascal said...

I just came by to wish you all a Purry Christmas!

mary (ware) said...

Beautiful wheel Dot. Learning a new language to read books on weaving - now that's what I call real commitment! Good luck... Happy xmas.

imogen ash said...

I am SO excited. I bought an identical wheel on ebay recently and have been trying to find out about it. Apart from 6 flyer hooks, an original bobbin and slightly different turning designs on "twiddly" bits. The strange thing is that my wheel has H. Catton, Woodburn, Western Avenue, Kent written in block capitals in pencil underneath and has an R in pencil on one of the uprights holding the wheel. In every other detail it could be the same wheel! Even the finish looks the same. I am a novice spinner, but this is such a joy to use compared to the Ahford that I was using. It is great to hear that you as a very experienced spinner know that you have something special, for I had a suspicion that your article has confirmed. If anyone can shed any more light on the history of my wheel I would be thrilled. I have Googled H Catton and got nowhere.
In hope, Imogen