Thursday, December 18, 2008

A very special WIP

When I drove home from New Jersey last week, I packed a very special item into my car.  I took it apart carefully, I wrapped it in towels and secured it with seatbelts, just as you would a new baby you're bringing home for the first time.  (OK, not quite just as, but nearly so). 


Still confused? I may have alluded to this particular WIP a couple of months back, during my September trip north. I can't seem to find a reference, though, so we'll just have to pretend that I warned you that at some time in the future, something really, really cool would be coming home with me from New Jersey!


This is an antique wheel that, for as long as I can remember, has stood in the front entryway to my aunt and uncle's farm. Ever since I started knitting, and then spinning, I've eyed it occasionally, and when I visited my relatives in September, they got to asking about how spinning worked, and whether or not the wheel in front hall had all its parts. Finally my uncle just came out and said, "what we're driving at is that this wheel is just decorative for us, and we'd love to see it put to use by someone who knows how. Would you like to talk it home with you?" To which I said, in a voice full of emotion, "I would love that."  

This most recent trip, we cleaned and polished the wheel. My uncle has an interest in wood-working, and my aunt in horses (so she knows about leather), so with their help, we took parts of the wheel apart, cleaned it with a wood cleaner, and "fed" it with some Howard's Feed n' Wax.  My aunt soaked the leather that holds the flyer in some leather toner that she uses for her saddles, and my uncle brought in an awl and mallet to help with some of the small pegs, as well as finding soft cloths and the cleaning and polishing items.  

When I headed home, I put the wheel in one seatbelt and wrapped it with a towel, and the bench behind the other passenger seatbelt.  I wrapped the wheel's posts, the mother of all, and other parts, in towels on the floor of my car, and upon arrival at home, after greeting Coffeeboy, immediately set to putting it back together again.  So now my home has been graced by a truly beautiful wheel. My aunt thinks she remembers seeing it in her grandmother's home -- my great-grandmother's home -- so in her honor, I'm calling the wheel Eleanor.

The wheel has some problems: the maidens and mother of all were wobbly; the flyer and the bobbin don't quite fit right together yet; the drive bands are sometimes crooked and fall off.  But with help from the internet (and especially the Antique Spinning Wheel group on Ravelry). I'm getting her put back together again.  Hopefully I'll have this WIP up and working in just a little while! 


The A.D.D. Knitter said...

I know nothing about spinning and wheels, but that one seems truly special:)

Jessica said...

Gorgeous! I'm so jealous!