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:
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...