6.06.2006

Doesn't Everyone Name Their Wheels?

I get some pretty strange looks when I tell people that I name my wheels. But to me it just feels right. Each has her own personality, her own style. I know that others name their wheels and looms, so I don't think I'm totally "out there". I met a weaver at Saturday's ArtWalk and was explaining that my Baby Wolf loom and I are not yet friends. Her first question to me was - "Have you named her yet?" And that made sense to me; how can you be friends with something - and understand it's personality - when it doesn't have a name? So, Baby is now "Alice". She needed a name that started with "A" since she was my first big fiber toy, purchased before I even thought about learning to spin. I hope to get Alice set up soon and see if we can now be friends.

When I first started spinning, I thought people who had multiple wheels were crazy. But I seem to have caught the bug. Bekki makes wheel #5 for me.
She looked so lonely, sitting all by herself in the dirt at the flea market, that there was no way I could leave her behind. Today I gave her the deluxe spa treatment - washed off all the grime, wiped on the first coat of tung oil, buffed, polished, and manicured until she shone. She appears to be fully functional, with no signs of wear. I don't think she is very old. Single treadle Ashford Travelers were in production until about 3 years ago. Older Ashfords (from about 18 years ago) had only two whorls; newer ones, like Bekki, have three. I meant to get some poly cord today to use for the drive band, but forgot. I'll get that tomorrow.

My first wheel was Florence, a double treadle Lendrum folding wheel. She was named for my beloved Granny Toe who passed away in May 2005. Granny Toe got her name when I was a toddler. As the first grandchild, I couldn't say "Flo", pronouncing it "Toe". The name stuck and she was Granny Toe or Aunt Toe to everyone from that day forward. Florence, the wheel, is my workhorse and still my favorite. She has a sweet disposition and will do anything you ask of her. I added a Woolee Winder in December and love it.

My second wheel was Grace, an antique Saxony.
She has dark wood and the original distaff and bobbin. Grace was a 2005 birthday present from Dick. He found her on eBay and bought her as a surprise. Grace is mainly for show at this point. I think she is spinnable; I just need to do a little work to set up her drive band properly.

My third wheel is Susie's fault. She told me about a wheel listed for sale in the guild newsletter. Susie had talked with the owner, who was moving out of state in less than a month, and knew she was willing to negotiate on the price. Susie thought the wheel would be "perfect" for me.
And so Eleanor, a cherry Dundas wheel with purpleheart bobbins and trim, came to live at my house. Eleanor is elegant and feisty, with a brake that refuses to stay in place. She spins very well, but demands constant attention and adjustment. Can you tell that I love her?

My last wheel is Claire. Claire is a petit parlor wheel
from the early 1800's and probably of European ancestry. She has elegantly turned spindles and the nails that hold her together are wood rather than metal. Her wheel was made in pie-shaped sections which have separated as the wood dried out over the decades. Claire was not a show piece; the wood on her treadle is worn away where a foot would have rested. I found Claire in an antique store in Santa Barbara where Dick and I had gone for lunch. We love antiquing, but hadn't done any shopping on this trip. As we were walking back to the car we stopped in just one store, adjacent to the parking garage entrance. And it was love at first sight. It's a good thing Claire is so tiny. She barely fit in Z3's trunk for the trip home.

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3 comments:

Wenona said...

Thank you! Thank you! I love the history of your wheels. As you've gotten each of them and told me it was so interesting. But now reading it all at once with the pictures was exciting! Loved the picture of Grandma Toe. You need to scrap a page exactly like this blog. Journaling and all.

Elisa said...

Funny you should mention scrapping. I've been thinking about scrapping some of my blog pages. The old killing 2 birds with one stone ploy, eh?? And you're right, the spinning wheel story would make a great scrap page.

Jinann said...

Oooooh! Thanks so much for posting! I too have 5 wheels......4 that I use and one antique. My friends (non-spinning ones) think I'm nuts. My spinning friends, however, understand. I use all of them except the antique one. I also have a loom (Shacht table loom) that I have yet to warp.

I don't REALLY name my wheels......but I shorten/modify their "given" names.
Lenny 1 (single treadle Lendrum), Lenny 2 (double treadle Lendrum),
Lizzy (Ashford Elizabeth),
Louie (Louet S-76)
Guess I'd better name the antique on, eh?