Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spinning Wheels
Frieda Peasley an Interpreter for Genesee Country Village stopped by the Tinker Homestead and gave Carol & John Aldridge, the docents and myself a demonstration on our spinning (walking) wheel and flax wheel. I later caught up with her at the War of 1812 encampment at Genesee Country Village.

A spinning wheel is a device for spinning thread or yarn from natural or man-made fibers where spinning is the process of twisting fibers together to create yarn.

The Great Wheel pictured above is one of the earlier types of spinning wheels, this wheel is hand powered. The fiber is held in the left hand and the wheel slowly turned with the right. This wheel is thus good for using the long-draw spinning technique, which requires only one active hand most of the time, thus freeing a hand to turn the wheel.

The Treadle Wheel

Irish spinning wheel - approx. 1900

Library of Congress collection

This type of wheel is powered by the spinner's foot rather than the hand. There are many variations, but the basic idea is the same. The spinner sits and pumps a foot treadle that turns the drive wheel via a crankshaft and a connecting rod. This leaves both hands free for drafting the fibers.

Frieda stepping back in time

Holding a Distaff attachment, notice the finger dipping bowl

Naturally dyed wool in the village

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