Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pendulum Wheel Spinning

Every once in awhile, life allows for a rare experience...And so it was for me at Rhinebeck, when I had the opportunity to try my hands at a Pendulum Spinning Wheel.

On Sunday, I met up with Judy and Marcy (thank goodness for cell phones) over at the Merlin Tree booth, where David Paul had restored a Pendulum Wheel and was offering it for sale. It is a beautiful wheel. Just look at it:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket the cannonball weight...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket the spindle....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket the treadle...

Very beautiful. The three of us put our heads and hands together, and with the help of a little oil, and some fiddling around with the drive band...the wheel was spinning.

The kinetics: I had never spun on a Pendulum Wheel before...so it took me a few minutes to figure out what I needed to do, and when I needed to do it. It is basically, a "sitting walking wheel" (as David called it) and being a spindle wheel, the method for drafting is pretty much the same. However, it did present it's own set of challenges....a bit like, well, when you can pat your head, rub your tummy, and someone says, "now hop on one foot".

The esthetics: There is an energy and a connection to the past that one experiences when spinning on a rare wheel like this. I quietly, and to myself, admire the inventor of this style of wheel, and his idea to have the spindle move away from the spinner, rather than the spinner move from the spindle. If a spinning wheel can be beautiful and graceful in its operation, then surely this must be, when a person who has mastered it is spinning on it.

I imagine, that when a spinner is proficient on this type of wheel, a length of yarn measuring approx 8-10 foot could be produced during the long draw. On the Great Wheel, I can comfortably produce a 6 foot length before winding on. Anything longer than that could be accomplished with the aid of a wool finger, or stick.

And so, it was great fun and a terrific experience to have a chance to spin on a Pendulum Wheel. It made me glad for Fiber Festivals, because they provide a place for us to come together and celebrate so many of the different aspects and facets of textiles. Oh, and then there is the shopping...

19 comments:

Manise said...

Oh I so wish that I could have met you at Rhinebeck! I was there. Judy and Marcy are buddies of mine! That wheel was very cool, though I never got a chance to see it action. I was off enveloped in roving fumes.

Marcy said...

Connecting with you and playing with the pendulum wheel with you and Judy was definitely the high point of my Rhinebeck. Way fun!

Donna B said...

As usual, you make me feel like I saw it with my own eyes.

judy said...

I am still amazed when things like that happen; that it could happen because of the internet. Meeting and actually being able to continue an ongoing conversation, with the wheel.. it was the highpoint of the weekend for me.

The picture of the cannonball weight is great.

Leigh said...

Very interesting. I'd never heard of one of these. Thanks for posting about it.

Jacqui said...

wow! that is truly lovely. what a great experience!

Valerie said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Beautiful and well preserved wheel!

Cathy said...

Terrific! Tho my fav is one you didn't post here. ;-)

Terry M said...

Thanks for sharing that with us! I've never had the chance to see one before. And yes, I can relate to your thoughts about the inventor.

Fiberjoy said...

Fascinating concept! I bet you'd get the rhythm in your body pretty quickly if you really had time to work with this type of wheel.

spinning maid said...

Fascinating. I've never even heard of this type of wheel. I've always fancied a go on a walking wheel - haven't yet got accesss to one to do so (keep seeing them in museums where (of course) we're not meant to touch the exhibits.

Anne said...

DP does such beautiful restoration work. It is absolutely stunning, and how gloriously fun you got to take it for a spin (pun intended).

Joanne said...

I saw this wheel! I'm just amazed you had the room to try it out. I was so crowded in that building that I'd be afraid to crank anything with a spindle out for fear of skewering someone! Did DP have it for sale? He is such a clever and kind guy--fixed one of my antique wheels for me, and did a super job!

elizabeth said...

That is really amazing and quite honestly, a little frightening-looking!

cindy said...

It was so much fun to meet you in person. I made a short film of the wheel while all of you were working on it. If you'd like to see it, let me know and I'll post it to utube.............

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Wow, what an experience that must have been!

Lola said...

Lucky you! Maybe someday I'll get to try out such a wheel. And maybe someday someone will start making reproductions.

Sa Janes said...

I come from such a different world, but I've gotten so much pleasure reading this website about spinning, of all things, and I can't help but feel how wonderful our country is and how lucky and blessed we truly are that we can touch each other so, in such pure-hearted, simple joys. You guys make my day!

Gayle Noga said...

I need some help, my parents left me a beautiful Pendulum spinning wheel that my dad built. It is missing some parts so I cannot use it, I see that yours was built from scratch, I would love to get hold of the person that did it so that I can get mine working again. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Gayle Noga
Pasco, WA

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