Sunday, June 18, 2017

Long Live The Queen

A couple months ago, I was introduced to my first spinning wheel.  She found me, although, I won't deny that as soon as we walked into that antiques mall, I was almost hoping to find one...but she found me.

She is a she, however, I didn't know her name, yet.  In time, I figured, I will know what to call her, but, for then, she is just simply "my wheel" and the pronouns are "she" and "her."

She does a wonderful job spinning.  All of the parts are in working order and, in fact, you can tell that she was well-used and loved so dearly in her past life, as she does have minor repairs on the pedal and the wheel.

She hadn't been used in a while and seemed creaky and wobbly.  Oh, I knew she needed some work, however, I still wanted to see how she did from the treadle of a new and unfamiliar foot -- and she did marvelously!  When I first started spinning with her, I had her in a couple of bandages -- plain strips of cloth placed and tied in the right places to make it work:  one in the cradle of the orifice under the brake band on the mother of all and the other around the bobbin pin in the flyer as the pin was wobbly and not seated firmly, causing the arms of the flyer to wobble and scrape the bottom arm of the mother of all.  Over the next week, I taped one end of the bobbin pin with masking tape and replaced (forced) it back in its seat by the orifice and it barely even moved.  The wobble was gone!  The cloth bandages were removed and she was working just as if she was never given up for sale.

I searched resources to find out more about her.  I learned the very basics from a posted failed ebay sale that she is a Dutch wheel, most likely made in the mid-1970s, and according to the description on ebay a Delft wheel made by Richard Wernerkinck, the CEO of that company, who is still alive and still running that company and is on LinkedIn -- or so I thought about him as the maker .  I also decided to send a picture of her and the ebay listing to a group on Ravelry, as my friend, Aaron, suggested, hoping to find more information, otherwise, I figured, I'll just continue to get to know her and she'll reveal herself in her own time.

'turns out she is not, in fact, a Wernerkinck Delft wheel.  From the "Working Wheels" group on Ravelry, a woman in The Hague, who is a collector of vintage wheels posted the link from her blog showing brochures for many vintage wheels, including my wheel!  It was, indeed, mass-produced, throughout the late '70s-early '80s but by a company called "Befra" and name of the line was called "Willy" named after Queen Wilhelmina.

...and there was her name:  Queen Wilhelmina, named after the line of mass-produced, manufactured, nameless spinning wheels -- which was named after the most powerful  Dutch monarch, herself, who carried her world into the 20th Century.  I couldn't think of another name, nothing else was conceive-able -- besides, she was the one finally telling me.  It was like a revelation, similar to Jean Valjean or Anastasia -- she was right there among the masses and no one knew until that very moment.

I think of the irony of just a day earlier, me bowing to her feet, oiling the hinges on her pedal -- attending to Her Majesty's squeak (which probably could have been heard all the way TO The Hague from here in Portland, Maine) and just this weekend, my friend, Aaron helped me get her all cleaned up and greased and lubricated.

...but name or no name, history or no history, I began loving her from the moment she caught my eye and she continued to beckon and I couldn't let her go.  I came to later find out that Kevin was saving up to get me a brand new wheel, so, contributed what he was saving to half of my purchase -- and the rest of the story is yarn.
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