Monday, January 26, 2009


This is a pretty amazing job of resurrecting a spinning wheel. Fred outdid himself this time. This wheel came to us missing its front leg, one stretcher, both maidens and bobbin and flyer.

It was pretty tricky to get the leg stretcher fitted into the existing hole in the crossbar between the two back legs and into the front leg. Fred only had some photocopies of similar wheels from Vesterheim to go by along with online photos from the Norsk Folke Museum.

The Norsk Folke Museum spinning wheel collections are online here. Use rokk as the search term. The photos were pretty small so details on the maidens had to be for the most part imagined.

The wheel belongs to the group of Norwegian wheels I call “steep slanted table” types in an article here.

This wheel has a 24” drive wheel with a whorl with two ratios. One is 1: 16 and the other is 1: 14.75. It is extremely light weight.

The wheel is loaded with decorative details. There are pretty cut outs on the table; turned ends on the bottom of the wheels supports, a hand forged wrought iron footman with a curlicue at the end of its hook over the axle cam. Instead of having an external crank for the footman, the axle crank is between one side of the wheel and the wheel support.

I painted the new parts of the wheel so they would be a close match in color to the rest of the wheel, but am not sure whether to keep the “shabby chic” look or ad more paint to cover the bare spots.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I posted photos back in September from the Endless Mountains Fiber Festival where Cyndy got the double flyer working, spinning on it with both hands.

At the time Cyndy felt that it would be better to find a way to wet the flax as it was spun. Spinning dry didn’t smooth it as much as wet spinning and now and then stray fibers caught in the flyer hooks and stopped the process.

Cyndy found a picture and description in Patricia Baines book, Spinning Wheels, Spinners & Spinning that seemed to suggest a wet sponge hung from the front of the horizontal distaff arm and the fingers or fibers were moistened on it.

We tried to simulate that, but it didn’t seem to work all that well so we'll have to try again sometime.

The wheel was squeaking some when we started and when made the video, but got quiet later, after some oiling.

This is just a quick peek at how it works. There is a longer video from a better angle here

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I did get the sweater finished. As mentioned previously I chose a merino superwash. The choice was because I didn't want a kid to get the impression wool was itchy and didn't want his mom to have a hassle washing it by hand.

I wasn't entirely happy with the way the sweater worked out. When my grandson put it on, the neck immediately stretched out so much I had to put in elastic around the neck.

This is only my second major project with "store bought" yarn. I knit an adult size Scandinavian sweater with some yarn I got on ebay before this. That yarn behaved the way I expected it to do so I don't know why the superwash was so different. Maybe it was just because it was superwash?