So the post I made a few hours earlier was a little devoid of details, and I figured I should probably show you my wheel much more closely, and give you some more details about it. So again, here is my spinning wheel:
It’s a Nilus Leclerc, circa…I don’t know when. The company is still in business, but it appears they only make looms now. However, it is remarkably similar to the Ashford Elizabeth Wheel (ignore the fairytale wheel writing…that’s a different wheel they carry):
Which means a few things. The first, is that finding parts for this thing, should it ever break, will either be really easy, or really difficult. Either way, I’ll cope. Both are single treadle, double drive wheels, which means they only have one foot peddle, but they have two speeds. This means that since the wheels are so similar, I will be able to buy extra bobbins. Oh yes, what’s a bobbin you ask? Well, up until about an hour ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you, nor show you where it’s located. However, thanks to my Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning book, and the internet, I can!
That’s the fly. The rod in the middle is where the bobbin goes.
And that’s the bobbin. Which, if I want to buy more of, is an Ashford High Speed double drive bobbin. Handy to know, hmmm? (And they run about $12 USD, which is definitely doable!)
And that’s how the bobbin fits onto the flyer before it’s tightened.
And how it fits onto the wheel. That metal part on the left hand side of the fly, with the hole, is called the orifice. And I thought some knitting terms were dirty…
This is the bottom of the wheel. I just thought it looked pretty. Did you know, btw, that the wheel is made of 4 separate curved pieces that are fitted together? I didn’t until today!
And the wheel in action…what a sight!
There are a couple things that I’m missing before I can get started. The first is a drive band, which is that crucial piece of plastic or woven material that wraps around the wheel and connects to the flyer so that it will turn. Yeah, you kind of can’t spin without it… the second piece missing is more bobbins, though I can probably get away without extras until I learn how to use it properly, and actually get some usable yarn out of it. I need to get some spinning wheel oil too, and a tub of beeswax to keep the parts shiney and cared for won’t hurt either. I already have some leather conditioner, so those parts the flyer connect to will be nice and supple before long (I plan on conditioning them tonight), and I won’t feel like I’m bending back pieces of stiff cardboard anymore.
The great thing about this wheel, is that even though the actual brand will be hard to come by, there will be lots of people experienced with working with an Ashford Elizabeth, so finding a teacher (either online or in person) probably won’t be very difficult. Ashford makes a spinning kit too, with an orifice hook, extra metal hooks, spinning wheel oil, and a couple other goodies that I might pick up. It’s so decently priced that how could I argue? And it has parts that I may need in the future too.
I love that I bought used though. There are all these little nicks and chinks and tiny bits that aren’t perfect. I love that there was someone who loved this wheel before me, used it, repaired it, cared for it, and I’m hoping there’s all sorts of good spinning ju-ju mixed up in it. It has history, it has memories, even if I don’t know them. I just love being aware that it’s there. Maybe one day I’ll buy a new wheel, but I think for now, this used one will suit me just fine.