Issue #88 - April 2015
View The Highlights & Photographs From This Issue.
A variety of tools are used in conjunction with spinning wheels: distaffs that hold the prepared fibers; hatchels or hackles that are used to prepare the flax fiber for spinning; reels for winding skeins after the thread has been spun; and swifts for unwinding the skeins. We will learn about some interesting examples of these tools and also about the intriguing bobbin/flyer mechanism on a parlor wheel and about a spinning wheel designed by a scientist.
Kim Caulfield is an experienced handspinner who loves to read about history, anthropology, and archaeology. She has been researching ancient hand-held distaffs, especially those made of glass, for some time. She presents what she has figured out about them so far.
A hand-held distaff
Ancient glass distaffs
Distaff with finger ring
A Clock Reel Marked E. FROST 1823
In the course of setting up a "weaver's cottage" for a newly established farm museum, Peggy Church came across an elegant wooden reel marked E. FROST, with a date of 1823. She describes the features of this object, but her efforts to discover the maker have thus far been unsuccessful.
Reel marked E. FROST side view
Reel marked E. FROST front view
Mark on reel
A Decorated Hatchel and A Dual-Purpose Device
Carlton Stickney has a large collection of textile tools. He tells about two of them: a hatchel [or hackle] with an eagle motif picked out in tin, and a dual-functioning metal reel and swift that is based on a patent issued to Josiah Foreman Palmer in 1867.
Hatchel with eagle design
Eagle punched design
Reel/swift horizontal arrangement
Reel/swift vertical arrangement
An Intriguing Flyer/Bobbin Arrangement
Intrigued by the strange bobbin/flyer mechanism on a small parlor wheel on auction from Germany, Krysten Morganti bid on it and won. She explains how this unusual system works.
German parlor wheel
Close-up of bobbin/flyer arrangement
A "Debbi" Wheel by C. Norman Hicks
Linda Martin came across a spinning wheel labeled "Debbi" that was built by the scientist C. Norman Hicks. She describes the wheel and gives a short biography of Hicks.
Close-up of pivoting arm and bobbin/flyer