2007-06-25: Restored

If only my brain and my heart were so easy to fix up. A project to keep the winter blues at bay.

Some people help the homeless or rescue animals. Beyond some high school youth group gigs, I haven't recently been in touch with my inner saint enough to do those types of things (to my quiet internal disappointment). However, this weekend I had a little project that gave me a similar (though less noble) type of satisfaction.

I rescued a spinning wheel.

In the grand scheme of things, not much of an acheivement, I'll admit. But it gave me a glow of capable pride to be able to turn this:

Just a bit dusty!

Into this:

Restored wheel

The mother of a mate of mine had held on to the spinning wheel for a while, unused (although she had used it once, as attested by the remains of some nicely spun but brittle and unusable singles left on the bobbin). When she heard that I liked to spin, she offered to let me use it if I was willing to fix it up. I took on the offer, much to the trepidation of Mr Wiggins.

Look at the wood gleam

In the end, all that was required was a good dusting, some furniture polish (the wood was pretty thirsty), and a new drive band to connect the flywheel to the flyer.

It's a different type of spinning wheel than I'm used to. All spinning wheels need some sort of mechanism to get the flyer (the part that adds twist to the fibre) to move at a different speed than the bobbin (the tube that stores the twisted up yarn). This difference allows the yarn to wrap around the bobbin, and the difference is usually controlled by some type of tension.

On my Wee Peggy, the bobbin is slowed down by a brake, a nylon cord that clamps down on the bobbin, forcing it to spin more slowly than the flyer. On the new wheel, the configuration has the drive band going around both a groove in the flyer and a groove in the bobbin. The fact that the flyer and bobbin have different diameters means that they will spin at different rates. This new type of wheel took a little bit of getting used to, but I spent a little while last night trying it out and acclimating to the new wheel. Quite a nice little machine. I'm glad I saved it.