We all know how expensive fiber arts equipment is. You don’t make a big purchase very often if you’re operating on a budget. When you do get a new piece of equipment, it is a big deal! I was so excited to find this little wheel advertised for sale locally on Facebook!

I bought my new to me spinning wheel from a young couple in Tahlequah. They had bought it to spin alpaca fiber on, as they owned a herd of alpacas (more on that later!). But the lady of the couple has moved on to pottery, and is no longer spinning. They were selling the wheel, a set of hand carders, some fiber and a tiny niddy noddy, all together.

When I asked them where they had bought the wheel, they said they had bought it from someone that had put the wheel together as a kit. I just assumed that meant, the previous owners had bought a spinning wheel and assembled it at home. The wheel was finished beautifully, and worked well. A part of the distaff was obviously missing, and she only had one bobbin, but since I was looking for a wheel to teach beginners to spin on, I thought she would do. I just feel in love with her.

I spent a lot of time searching the internet looking for clues to this distinctive little wheel before I gave up and turned to Ravelry. If you need to know where a spinning wheel originated, Ravelry is the place to find that information! I found two groups in particular to be very informative. The first is the Antique Spinning Wheels group, which is where I got my first clue as to the maker of this wheel. I posted there and was ultimately pointed to Hallcraft 2710 spinning wheels. At first glance, it did in fact seem to be one of these wheels, which were produced by a company in Ohio, as kits, and then sanded, finished and assembled by the purchaser. On closer inspection, though, the legs, the distaff, and some other little differences led me to believe that while we were in the right ball park, I needed to keep looking. The other group that I have began to stalk is the Working Wheels group. It is so informative, I find myself reading threads just to see what they are talking about, how they identify various wheels, and what to look for if I ever decide to buy another wheel.

So I did some searches on Hallcraft on Ravelry, and was led to 3 or 4 discussions that lead me to believe that what I actually have is a Jacob Plum wheel, produced by the Midway Mfg. Co. Also a kit, but the legs and distaff are exactly the same as the legs and distaff on my wheel. Even more amazing, someone had just bought the rest of Midways stock a few years ago, and had finished, stained and sold these wheels for $350! I contacted the woman that was selling the wheels, and asked if she might have the missing part of my distaff or bobbins left over. She did! So I bought two more bobbins, and a whole distaff since she obviously didn’t want to split up a whole distaff. The whole bunch plus shipping cost me about $65, which is a lot cheaper than having bobbins made would have been. The new bobbins are a tad shorter than the original,but they fit! So now I have a nice little wheel with three bobbins. I still need to buy and install actual spinning hooks, as I hate the cup hooks that had been installed on the flyer. Just need to wait for that next pay check!

Here you can see the difference between the two bobbins. The larger one is the one that came with the wheel, and has the distinctive double etched lines found all over this wheel. The smaller one is one of the newer bobbins I just bought. Those smaller ones actually work better on the flyer, but I think they will hold less fiber. I have a plan to solve that problem though!

All in all, I think this is a good wheel. She spins smoothly, and is small enough to be transportable. I was worried about the tensioning system, but there is actually quite a bit of play there. I can adjust it from barely taking up at all, to feeling like there’s a truck pulling the yarn in. It was a pleasant surprise! I’m really pleased to have her. Now I just need a spinning student!