Issue #109 – July 2020


• Tension Systems on Great Wheels
• The Bedwell Wheels of Tennessee
• A “Granny Greer Wheel”
• Restoring a “Log Top” Double-Flyer Wheel


Highlights From This Issue

In this issue we learn about a dozen ways that builders of great wheels designed systems for that most important function—how to adjust the tension on the drive band. Two very distinctive great wheel structures are introduced and the restoration of a log top double-flyer wheel is described.

Tension Systems on Great Wheels

Using the huge number of images of great wheels found on the Ravelry Spindle Wheel Forum, Enrica McMillon undertook to catalog them by their current location and particular features. Here she presents the main types of tension systems she found.

The Bedwell Wheels of Tennessee

When Nora Rubinstein acquired a great wheel with a distinctive structural style and writing on it, she discovered that it was made by a member of a wheel-making family named Bedwell from Tennessee. With help from the Ravelry Spindle Wheel Forum, she learned of other examples. She describes these wheels and tells us what she found out about them and their makers.

A “Granny Greer Wheel”

Spinning wheels are often given nicknames based on structure—double-flyer wheel—or the primary fiber used on them—wool or flax wheel—or place of origin—Quebec wheel. But one style of great wheel is named after a real person, a traditional spinner, dyer, and weaver known as “Granny Greer.” Carlton Stickney explains the origin of the name and the characteristics of the one in his collection.

Restoring a “Log Top” Double-Flyer Wheel

Erika Keller was asked to restore a double-flyer wheel. Although she had repaired another double-flyer wheel, this one was different, from the subcategory called “log top.” She describes what she had to do to bring it back to working order.