I’ve been having a very crafty weekend so far, as I decided to rouse my old Ashford traditional wheel from his sleeping place in the loft today. This is the wheel that I first learned to spin on, way back when I was at school doing my GCSE’s. With the permission of my art teacher, I rescued him from the school art room, where he was abandoned and broken in a corner. I brought him home, where my mum and I fixed him up and then I taught myself to spin.
A few years later I bought my Majacraft Rose, at which point I stashed the Ashford in the loft as he was very cranky by comparison with the Rose who was all smooth and whizzy. So he’s been there for quite a while now, gathering dust and dozing.
But as I’m thinking of doing some spinning teaching in the future, I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself how to use a very basic wheel. It’s been years since I used a single treadle wheel, as both my Rose and my Kromski Sonata are double treadled.
So, after a dust-down, degrease and some light mending, I set the old Ashford into use again. And to my surprise, I love it! I don’t remember it being this pleasant to spin on before, either I was extra fussy back then, or my spinning/wheel tuning skills have improved so that it really is nicer to use. I didn’t expect to get anything out of the wheel without completely stripping it and reconditioning it, but lookie, I made yarn!
I think this wheel needs a name, and I’m considering calling him Oscar, because in truth he is a bit of a grouch. And frankly, at the moment he’s still quite grubby.
But now that I know he still works, I’m going to give him a good clean up and restoration job. I need to sort out the scotch tension arrangement, as when we originally fixed him I didn’t get the setup right, so it needs more hooks and a new peg to wind the brake band on. Then I’ll clean and sand down the woodwork, stain him a walnut colour (I’ve long wanted a dark wheel), and then give him a lovely beeswax polish to finish off.
I’m even thinking of treating him to a new flyer with jumbo bobbin and sliding hooks. The Ashford traditional parts are amongst the most reasonably priced of any wheel, so I feel I can indulge in some lovely new accessories for my old friend.
And to think I was considering selling him a few months ago! Not now, this old friend’s taught me so much, I’m keeping him forever 🙂