Friday, May 21, 2010

My Other Heirloom Antique Spinning Wheel

About 15 years ago I also inherited a spinning wheel from my great-great-grandmother who came from Sweden (on my mothers side of the family).  This is the first spinning wheel I ever used and the one on which I learned to spin. It was a tad rickety, but I was able to spin quite a bit of fine yarn. This is a photo of me spinning on the wheel when I was a teenager.
 After my parents were convinced I was into spinning we bought a brand new spinning wheel for me and this one was put into storage.  It has survived at least 4 location changes since then, but not in the best of condition, as the wheel portion fell apart into about 15 pieces.  My dad recently dug the spinning wheel out of the attic in the barn and sent it home with me.  I decided to see what I could do with it.  
Besides the spinning wheel being all broke apart, it was covered in a thick goopy layer of green paint that was worn off in spots.  I decided to try stripping off the paint before I reassembled the spinning wheel. I used a gel paint stripper and steel wool to remove the paint. I was able to remove most of the paint, but there is still a slight green tinge to the wood.  Then I oiled the wood with a mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits. 
The wheel was originally assembled using only wood pegs, so I used wood pegs to assemble it again.  I only used glue on the 4 spots where the outside curves of the wheel join. I am by no means an expert at this sort of thing, but I am pleased with the outcome. 
Half of the flyer (the U shaped piece with the hooks) is missing, but the wheel still works okay without it. 
There are quite a few hooks missing too!
This piece is made out of leather- the metal orifice looks hand formed. 
Most of these grooves and many others on the spinning wheel were completely covered up by paint, so it looks much prettier now. 

Well worn and patched with wire!
The backside
I was able to spin a bit of yarn on this wheel, but it is a bit of a challenge to get it adjusted exactly right, as the wheel isn't perfectly circular, so it will be around mostly for the charm :)


  1. Can you share some of your get-it-done energy with me? Great to see things like this happening!

  2. This is so neat you brought it back to life! It looks great! Do you still have that huge spinning wheel that I stored here for awhile? It was so pretty.........


  3. Caren- I think that would be the one that is in my parents living room now. See: :)

    Ginny- I usually make a long list of things I want to accomplish and then work on it whenever I have a few minutes of free time- eventually I get the projects done :D

  4. I wonder if the missing piece is in the granary --- did we ever have it?


  5. We may have had the missing piece at one point, although it was never attached to the wheel. It may be in the house somewhere with other odds and ends????