The Spinning Wheel Sleuth, The Handlooms Supplements, and the editor / publisher, Florence Feldman-Wood

Although I had been spinning and weaving for many years, my main focus had been giving lectures and workshops about silk and cashmere. I didn’t discover antique spinning wheels till 1990, when I became fascinated by patented moving-spindle spinning wheels, such as pendulum wheels and lever-action wheels, after seeing them in an exhibit. I began researching them and had a couple of articles about them published in Spin-Off. I began The Spinning Wheel Sleuth newsletter in 1993 to continue to share what I had learned about these “weird and wonderful” devices.

While that was my original focus, I was encouraged by my readers and supporters to include all kinds of spinning wheels. In Issue #2 the late Bill Ralph wrote, “I believe there is a substantial readership out there seeking information on JUST PLAIN OLD WHEELS.”

Looking back over the last twenty plus years, I have been continually amazed at the information about an incredibly wide variety of spinning wheels and related tools that has come from my many generous contributors. Not only about historic and geographical variations on spinning wheels, but about tools like scutching mills and sitting distaffs that I didn’t even know existed. I continue to learn more as I organize the material that I receive to share it with my readers.

I began the annual Hand Looms Supplements in 1998 after requests by supporters for a publication about looms. While I am willing to do the editing and publishing, I rely on the contributors for the material. Some of them are interested in historic and ethnic looms, others in the patented rag-rug looms of the late 19th century, others in the hand looms designed for 20th-century hobby weavers, as well as tape and inkle looms. Again there is a wide variety of topics.

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