a couple of months ago, i fell in love with a wheel on Swedish craigslist. she was an incredible price by US standards, but the seller didn't speak English, so i appealed to my friend CJ, an embroidery artist in Stockholm, to rescue her for me. he went to all the trouble of calling and meeting with the seller, carting home the wheel (who I had started calling "Sunny" because she looked yellow in the initial photo), finding a flat-screen tv box, disassembling her every so carefully, packing her up and shipping her to me. i waited most impatiently for Sunny the spinnrock to arrive. i am so indebted to CJ! but i had to have her.

unfortunately she showed up in many more pieces than she should have been. the poor girl. of course her wood is brittle, she is from 1846! there are a bunch of pics in my flickr from the day she arrived, and then a bunch more today.

i've been learning and following recommendations from the wheelrights on the antique wheels forum on ravelry. here she is after murphy's and a couple doses of lemon oil, some provisional repairs and a lot of tinkering:

i'm as proud as a new mama that she is actually starting to spin!!

but, she still has ever so many issues. the biggest problem may be the warped drive wheel. i used hide glue and clamped as best i could her three major breaks - but each of them had been repaired in the past and all seemed to have missing bits so that there isn't a whole lot of wood-to-wood contact.

i know these look awful. i hope i didn't muggle* her too terribly. but what can you do if this is the best they will go together? there were a couple of nails poking out here and there that i tried to remove, but felt the wood start to crumble, so i let them be.

so it's not surprising that she won't turn true. she scrapes both sides of the uprights when she turns. so i shimmed a little, and it did help, although i'm still working on them. i also put some bits of leather under the axles to try to make her wobble less.

it's amazing though that if i spin counterclockwise, she mostly holds onto her drive band. definitely not clockwise though. i haven't used this sort of drive wheel that doesn't keep the band separated. (not to mention all the nails and breaks that want to snag the band..)

the chips in her bobbin whorl don't help her keep the band on either, unless we go along very carefully. her bobbin is so tiny - only 3.5" total! there are two grooves in the flyer whorl, which i haven't seen either - they are slightly different sizes, so i'm guessing that's for different ratios. the flyer whorl doesn't exactly want to stay put in its threads either.

another issue is the flyer scraping this peg in the MOA, which sent her tiny hook flying. i'm working on stabilizing her maidens so that they sit up higher so this doesn't happen.

i've considered sending her off to a skilled wheel repairer, but she is so delicate that i'm not sure she should be shipped again. new bobbins and even a new flyer might be in order though.

Sunny is a little overwhelming, but very much a labour of love for me. did anyone ever have the feeling that they knew a wheel in a past life (or wished they did)?

*muggle is both a noun and a verb that spinners use to describe non-spinners and their repair efforts.


  1. She may be worse for the wear at this point, but she still looks dignified.

    I hope you can get her in working order again!

  2. muggle is from harry potter! it means normal humans, who aren't wizards and therefore clueless:)

  3. lisa, she is definitely going to work again, not be just a decorative antique! and elithea, yes we just watched the latest movie last night! i think it's brilliant to adapt the muggle term the way spinners have ;)

  4. she's lovely. it's clear that the two of you have a deep relationship. so long as the muggling is done with love, she's bound to turn out swell. keep us posted.

  5. 150 years old and still spinning. She looks great and I´m sure she will work fine again. I´m so glad I did this and seeing her in working condition makes me so proud.

    / C J, the Swedish muggle who sent her.

  6. What a journey, Sunny has definitely found the right home. She's beautiful.

  7. thanks everyone, and especially CJ! with a few more little fixes (like some nail polish on her old rusty hooks), today she is spinning beautifully! she is truly a SpinnRock!

  8. Oh wow! I know how that is, it's like you see this beautiful old thing, and you want to save it, and keep it safe. Your fixes are great -- the old gal is probably as surprised as you that she is running true! Congrats mama

    PS--How many wheels do you have now? lol

  9. oh sunny is an amazing find! i wish her the best (and you too of course).
    i also love how this completely reminds me of sleeping beauty too....

  10. perpetua, i've been so bad! i have seven wheels now and just committed to getting no. 8! i've been milking every holiday possible and i couldn't pass up another wheel for our 5-year anniversary :D

    ada, yes i think that's one reason i love sunny so much, she is a total fairy tale wheel!!