Monday, October 31, 2005


Fred made a bunch of nostepinnes or yarn winders. They are used to create a convenient center-pull ball.

They are available at our ebay store

A - padauk, a rich red/orange wood

B - mesquite, tan wood with very, very fine dark grain lines

C - cocobolo, a deep dark brown with even darker grain markings, takes an exceptional silky finish

D - red heart, a naturally red-colored wood

E - bocote, an amber colored wood with many narrow dark grain markings

F - bubinga, a chestnut colored wood with wispy graining in dark redbrown

G- kingwood, a tinge of lavender and dark grain

H - tulipwood, a peach colored wood with raspberry grain markings

I - yellowheart, naturally yellow with flashes of chatoyance

J - purple heart, natural deep magenta color (keep out of strong light for best color retention)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Great wheel for sale

This is a wheel probably made by Joel Baldwin (signed: J B 1147)who worked in Bristol, CT. I'm still working on the research. It seems likely that Old Sturbridge Village may have another wheel by the same maker.

Joel Baldwin's ad was in the Hartford Courant in 1801,

“All kinds of Spinning Wheels and Reels made and repaired by Joel Baldwin of Bristol living on the road from Cambridge Meeting-House to Farmington.

N. B. Two handed wheels are highly recommended to young Women, as they can spin one third faster on them. Bristol, Dec. 15.”

The wheel came from Wolcott, about six miles from Bristol, CT. The wheel is completely original right down to the braided corn husk bearings on the accelerating head. The accelerating head still has part of the original paper label declaring W. R. Byington as the maker. The spokes of the wheel have attractive bead turnings close to the hub. Price $450. SOLD

Threading hooks and yarn gauges

Fred has been busy getting fancy threading hooks and matching yarn gauges ready for Christmas. He has a bunch listed on our ebay store

Here is a cocobolo sett gauge and a tulipwood threading hook.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Finnish Spinning Wheel!

Of course, it would certainly help to have a Finnish spinning wheel to spin the Finnsheep wool on. At some point it its life, this wheel was stripped of its original dark green or black paint. Everything about it is ornamented with beautiful turnings.

Finnsheep are amazing!

Finnsheep come from Finland and are related to Shetlands, Icelandics, Gotland, Romanov and other short tailed Nordic breeds. Finnsheep are noted for prolificacy and out of season breeding.

The photo shows a yearling with her triplets. We helped her feed them with a bottle.

Only about 400 Finnsheep are registered annually by about three dozen breeders in the USA. Their wool is classed in the fine range of the medium-wooled sheep. Micron counts range from about 24 to 29 microns. Finnsheep have high luster wool with a very silky hand. Their wool has less lanolin than most breeds resulting in a 70% yield after washing out the lanolin.

Finnsheep are friendly. They are much larger than Shetland sheep and about the same as Icelandic sheep. They come in all colors of the sheep rainbow, although moorit and fawns are rare in the USA at this time. All colors including piebald and spotted ones can be registered.

Our Finns have bred consistently out of season. This year one of our ewes had triplets in the spring and quads in the fall. Her dam had quints one spring and four more lambs that fall!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tilden spinning wheel

Fred just finished restoring this Tilden wheel, made by either Capt. Calvin Tilden or his son, Luther, in Cornwall, VT. The wheel is stamped with the Tilden name in the endgrain of the oak table.

Calvin Tilden fought in the Revolutionary War. He went to his final rest in 1822 and Luther in 1826, so this is a very early wheel. Fred made a new treadle for it as well as a new bobbin/flyer unit, plus extra bobbins. It is a great spinner! It is on its way to a re-enactor in California.

I guess I have been hooked on antique spinning wheels since the first one my husband, Fred Hatton, restored for me. Someone had given him an antique wheel that was all apart and in a box, missing parts. I had been spinning on a second hand Ashford traditional for many years. I kept hinting it would be a great birthday or Christmas present and finally it was restored!

It was terrific to spin on as well as beautiful. Fred had to hand cut a new wooden screw for the tension and make new treadle parts, new spindles, fix the flyer and make new bobbins. The old parts are really old - - about 1780 to 1820. We recently learned it was made in Londonderry, NH by Benjamin Gregg. Fred enjoyed the fiddling it took to get the wheel to spin well so we picked up several more to restore. By now he has restored around a dozen wheels including several great wheels.