October 2014 Meeting

The topic of October’s meeting was “How Spinning Wheels Work and What’s Wrong When They Don’t.”

Karen Agee started the discussion by distributing an example of a spinning wheel troubleshooting guide and challenging members to begin compiling a collection of our own helpful hints and pointers for successful spinning.

The first wheel shared was Becky Metcalf’s recently acquired original Rick Reeves. Her wheel is a double drive Saxony style crafted in silky smooth walnut.


Janice Fobian talked about her Ashford Joy wheel next. The Joy is a portable wheel weighing only thirteen pounds. Its features include a folding treadle, built-in lazy kate, and a carry handle. The stretchy drive band adjusts to four different ratios.


Karen Agee introduced us to her upright reproduction of a German spinning wheel made by Denny Schmoker. Denny’s wheels are historically accurate including a milk paint finish. This wheel uses Irish tension.


Some gems can be found on eBay, as one member discovered. Gail’s Ashford Traveller wheel has found a good home with her. Her Traveller is unfinished with a double drive. It is compact and light enough (fifteen pounds) to take to spinning events. An optional jumbo flyer is available to complement its four ratios. The Traveller comes with a build-in lazy kate.


Have you ever looked at your wheel and wondered how Sleeping Beauty ever managed to prick her finger? After seeing Karen Agee’s spindle wheel, that question has been answered. Karen covers the spindle’s sharp point with a cork to prevent another Sleeping Beauty moment. The spindle is attached to a Minor’s head or accelerator which was an improvement over the great wheel.


When Karen Kitchen was learning to weave, her father-in-law thought she should learn to make her own yarn. He studied the Foxfire books and made her a replica of a great wheel used in the Appalachian Mountains prior to 1970. The large wheel is turned with one hand while the other holds the fiber. This type of wheel is sometimes referred to as a walking wheel since the user does quite a bit of walking back to spin the fiber and forward to wind the spun fiber onto the spindle.


After this program we can all agree that Karen Agee and the other presenters have given us a much better understanding of the many types of wheels available and the mechanics of how they work.

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