Spinning Wheels Antique and modern . Beauty follows Function.

Form follows Function

Antique Wesh Spinning Wheel
Antique Wesh Spinning Wheel

Spinning Wheels and Accessories

Grace, Beauty and Utility

The first antique I ever bought was an ebony, child's spinning wheel. It was so pretty sitting there in the dusty window that I passed every day on the way home from school. It was decorated with white bone embellishments and had all the air of just coming from Sleeping Beauty's castle. I broke open my piggy bank and bought it. Little did I know at the time that it was incomplete and would never spin without a spindle and flyer. It was inscribed 1869 in the white bone and it cost eleven pounds in English money. I have treasured it ever since

Years later the local college was offering evening classes in spinning and weaving so I enrolled. It opened up a whole new world to me. Spinning is relatively easy, a knack like riding a bicycle. One you never lose. Soon, I was enjoying the delights of various fleeces and spinning lovely yarns from different varieties of fleece from many animals.

Alpaca fleece is soft and silky, takes dye easily and will felt well too. Felting is becoming more and more popular these days. Felting is less time consuming than knitting and has the air of alchemy about it with all those boiling pots and clouds of steam.

Angora Goat fleece is soft yet springy. It is often very straight with little crimp to it. The crimp is known as staple. It is best mixed with another type of fleece with more crimp to produce a better quality yarn with more strength.

Sheep fleece varies incredibly from breed to breed from fine haired merino to chunky coarse wool full of kemp from the hardy Herdwick breed of the English Lake District used for carpets. Kemp is the coarse hair mixed in with the wooly fleece and is good for carpet wool, woven not knitted. Merino is highly prized for men's suiting. Some growers keep their sheep indoors to protect the very valuable fleece, Merino wool with micro fine threads.

Spinning wheels are of several varieties, the upright or Castle wheel, the Saxony where the layout is parallel to the ground and the walking wheel. The Walking wheel is a much larger one that is out of fashion nowadays as it takes up so much room. Originally wool was spun by hand on a spindle and still is in many parts of the world. Spindle whorls have been discovered of great antiquity.

Basically the fleece is combed into usable long coils called rovings which are fed into the revolving spindle so that twist is applied by the turning wheel. The U shaped flyer guides the spun wool onto a removable reel . To produce two ply yarn, two reels are fed back into the spindle while the wheel is turned in the opposite direction to twist the threads together, but removing some of the original twist as two ply yarn doesn't need to be so individually strong as a single thread that has to stand alone.The wool is spun in the greasy form so that it twists together more easily. It is then removed from the reel onto a swift or wound around your forearm in hanks. The spun wool is then carefully washed.

The end result is a variety of beautiful yarns of great character.

Spinning wheels are to be found in many varieties, most of which are very attractive. They make an interesting addition to any interior as well as being very useful and therapeutic. Gandhi used to spin every day and recommended it to all his followers. I have used an Ashford wheel for over thirty years and it is still as good as the day I bought it. There are many wheels on the market today and I recently saw a split pedal wheel in use that appeared easier to use than the single pedal one. The choice is yours but I know that it will bring you joy and tranquility. Gandhi, while imprisoned, used to spin every day and said it kept him sane.


Spinning Extras

The Flyer which winds the spun wool onto the spindle
The Flyer which winds the spun wool onto the spindle
Beautiful Dyed Angora Goat Rovings
Beautiful Dyed Angora Goat Rovings
Alpaca Rovings ready to Spin
Alpaca Rovings ready to Spin

Ride a Painted Pony!

More by this Author


Comments 28 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

You have brought back memories there. My grandmother was spinning her sheepswool in the evening and I still can see her. There is something about a spinningwheel. Thank you for a lovely hub.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Brilliant.!! Didn't even know we could use spinning wheels thde days. Love all your hubs. Thank you xxxxxxx


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hello Hello hello! I love my spinning wheels (I have six of them). They are fascinating and spinning is so therapeutic. Glad you stopped by


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Dim Spinning is rising in popularity again. Thoroughly recommend it. Thanks for your sweet comment. xx


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

Neat, we used to have a spinning wheel but never used it. It always fascinated me because I thought it was a family heirloom!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Alexander, it probably was. Does your Mum still have it? I can teach you to spin. Thanks for dropping by


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Very interesting hub


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks ladyjane. Glad you came by.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

Ah, there is a certain beauty to be found in a spinning wheel.......... I guess the fairy tales they frequent stay with us forever......... they're almost magical, but magical would mean that I know how to use one, and I don't. Truthfully, I can't even sew :-(

Thank you!

Kaie


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hello Kaie thanks for dropping by. Spinning Wheels are beautiful to me and it's not difficult to learn to use one. Perhaps one day?


reddog1027 profile image

reddog1027 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Spinning and weaving have intriqued me since my high school days. There was a little old lady that had a spinning and weaving shop in town and the things she could turn into yarn was amazing.

Your hub made both sound like something that I would love to try my hand at. I will be looking for classes soon. Thanks for a lovely hub.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hello reddog, thanks for dropping by. I am sure you will enjoy it. It is both useful and calming. It kept Ghandi sane while he was a prisoner. Blade will probably enjoy watching the wheel spinning too. It is quite hypnotic!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

No, it wasn't an heirloom, and it is gone now. Sorry, but I don't want to learn anyway - I'll leave that to you :-) Besides, if I learn how to spin, next I'll have to learn how to knit!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hey sailors always used to knit! I'm sure you would enjoy it!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

You will find spinning wheels for sale in Riga, Latvia at good prices. (Also excellent painings. Thereis a lady called Inta Chelmina who is a legent in Latvia and much admired world wide. Her husband is not bad either, but I forget hisname). If you find yourself there, it is well worth a look :-)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi De Thanks if I am ever there I will look them up. I don't need any spinning wheels though as I have six already.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 5 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

I found this fascinating, a real page turner. Thx for all of your detailed work.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi loveofnight. Thank you for your delightful comment. Glad you found spinning wheels fascinating. I always have. Glad to share!


Jo Deslaurier profile image

Jo Deslaurier 5 years ago

Very neat, vote up.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks for dropping by and the vote Jo. Much appreciated!


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

My Grandmother taught me how to card and spin wool, both on the spinning wheel and the hand spindle. I was equally bad on both. My knitting was worse, however.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Wow weren't you lucky. It means that if you want to take it up again, you know where to start! I knit and sell to a local boutique I only make a little but better than nothing! more than hub pages. Thanks for stopping by. Where was you grandma from?


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

My family has been on the Northwest Coast, USA for six generations.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Interesting! I thought she may have been Basque or Greek where these crafts are common. Thanks for the insight. Sailors were the original knitters in the UK maybe they passed it on when they visited the N W Coast. I wrote a hub on knitting the easy way do check it out.


prolix1001 5 years ago

It very good thinks that I saw. keep it up..

Wheels For Sale


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thank you prolix 1001 for the kind comment. Glad you like it.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Have always been fascinated with the fibre arts. Maybe I inherited it from my Irish dwelling, Swedish weaver ancestors! Thanks for the comment Mark.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I've always wanted a spinning wheel. So much great information here. Thanks a million. Maybe one day I will invest.

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