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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

I got a spinning wheel! I knit, I sew, and I want to spin my own yarn!

April 11th, 2011 by violette

The Wonderful Spinning Wheel I Got at the Children's Hospital Auction

Yes, I got a spinning wheel. am I crazy? As if I don’t have enough to do already! But I have always been interested in spinning. I love using vintage sewing machines and other tools and have a penchant for acquiring them, renovating them if need be and learning to work with them. Almost all my appliances are vintage and I seem to be going further and further back in time with what I am acquiring lately!

It’s fascinating! Maybe it is a good way to fight aging! It keeps me so absorbed I don’t think about that! Plus it takes me back to my own childhood experiences.

I spent summers on my grandparent’s sheep and cattle ranch in southern Idaho as a child. My grandmother raised sheep for the wool and had her shorn pelts washed and carded at the Pendelton Woolen Mills, then sent back to her so that she could spin her own yarn. It was soft and luxurious.

She taught me the basics of knitting when I was 5 years old. I learned on five needles in the round. I learned fair Isle multi-stranded and multi-colored techniques and I learned on small needles. I do not recall her owning any needles larger than a size 2! I was fascinated by knitting then, as I am now, and found it difficult to put it down once I got started. There was a long period in my adult life when I was too busy with other things to do much of it but I always managed to go back to it again and am heavily involved in it now.

Knitting is slow going but the best way to handle stress I have ever discovered. And there is always more to learn.

Yarns are also gorgeous. I didn’t learn to spin from my grandmother but I always wished I had.

I happened to stop into the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital Thrift Store when they were holding a silent auction and saw this beautiful wheel in perfect condition with all it’s parts in tact. It had been very well cared for. It was on a triple bill with a treadle sewing machine, also in great condition, and a beautiful old rocking chair. You had to bid on all three together. I did it. But I really didn’t think I’d win. I wasn’t able to place a very high bid.

As it turned out I was the only person who placed a bid! I ended up winning all three items. All of them were from the same donor, are in very good condition and are complete. I was really lucky. All I have to do is get a new belt for the treadle sewing machine which I intend to do in the summer. The machine is a White and it is in a lovely oak cabinet. I learned to sew on one of these as well. My grandparents had their original treadle and several Singer electric machines. Everyone sewed a lot so they kept them all.

I don’t know what ultimately happened to their old machinery. It either went to other family members when they died or was disposed of. I was far away in other parts of the country when that happened.

But, ultimately, I think I was lucky to have been taught all these skills growing up. I think about my grandmother and everything she taught me whenever I work on any of the projects I do using those skills. She was a very good teacher, but I was so young I think I also absorbed these skills through osmosis just being around her. She said she taught us how to sew and knit so that she could keep us busy while she was doing it and get her work done. She taught me, my brother and my cousins all the basics about sewing, knitting, gardening, cooking, and animals. She loved animals and had a multitude of pets ~ dogs, cats, peacocks, horses, chickens, sheep, goats, etc. ~ as well as farm animals. She was also a woman of great style as she had trained in Switzerland to be a couturier before marrying a rancher. Long story, more later….

And I’ll post pictures of the rocker and the treadle sewing machine later as well.

 

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