Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Finally; My Wheel

Tonight I drummed up my courage and pulled the resident spinning wheel from the corner and scraped the dust off of it. I've been so afraid to touch it; it's so beautiful and so fragile and I had no idea what I was doing. Since I've gotten the Majacraft, I understand the workings a bit better, so I decided to take the plunge.

It's so sad that it's broken in so many places; the wood is beautiful and in very good condition, other than the damaged parts. My husband reports that he and his sisters would play with it, having contests to see who could getting going the fastest, and I imagine that might be where the breakages happened.

It looks like the footman and the flyer need replacing, though with some tenderness and care, maybe we can use it as is. The most worrying thing to me is a crack in the wheel's center; if that breaks, I think it's pretty much done. I'm hoping to take it to Solvang and see if the experts there can help.

There's a maker's mark on the wheel; Alfred Andresen Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota. I googled it and got no hits at all. I sent emails to the Spindler's List and to The Spinning Wheel Sleuth; maybe someone will know something about it. I've decided to christen it Abigail.

If you happen to know anything about this wheel, or who might help me replace/restore the broken pieces, I'd love to hear from you.


Elisa Eiger said...

Saw your post on Spindlers. Nice Norwegian-style double-table wheel--hope you can get it back into working order!
The current issue of _The Spinning Wheel Sleuth_ mentions that the next issue (#53) will have an article on the wheels imported by Alfred Andresen. You might also want to get a copy of SWS issue #51, which focused on Norwegian wheels.
David Paul of The Merlin Tree in Vermont does spinning wheel restorations (NAYY, though he's currently making some bobbins for a vintage wheel or mine); I think Alden Amos also does restorations. Florence Feldman-Wood, editor of SWS, will certainly be able to provide names of other restorers. (As might, as you noted, the people at Village Spinning and Weaving in Solvang.)
If you or your husband are handy, or have a friend who is, you can certainly make a replica of the broken footman rod yourself (I've done it, and I'm not handy). You may even be able to make a replica of the flyer. It looks to me as if you'll have to replace the flyer or tinker with it so much that you might as well replace it. It looks as if one of the arms broke off and was glued back on in the past, minus a bit off the tip, so it's probably too unbalanced to actually spin on, and possibly so unbalanced that playing with it will break it more.
If you want to try the DIY route, see if you can get a copy of David Bryant's _Wheels and Looms_ through Interlibrary Loan--it contains detailed plans for building wheels, and may be a useful starting point. The book is unfortunately out-of-print, very-hard-to-find, and extremely expensive when you do find it, but my county library system owns it, and it seems likely that other libraries have it, too.

Elisa said...

Oh my. I was curious what 'extremely expensive' would be so I checked Amazon. Two books listed - one at $480 and the other at $805. Inter-library loan is looking better all the time! Lovely wheel; hope you can get it working. (And tell Murphy *not* to follow Dad's example & see how fast he can spin it.*grin*)

QoE said...

I would send the information that you have about the wheel to the Minnesota Historical Society (http://www.mnhs.org/). I have been amazed at the information they have.
Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Lots of info. Pictures are great. Glad you are involved. Showed my Bridge group my purse. Thought it was terrific. So do I. Good Luck. MOM

Viki said...

I too have a Alfred Andresen & co wheel. It is missing the footman and the bobbin assembly, although the mother of all is intact. Have you contacted anyone yet to have your's repaired?
My email is crftyspider@aol.com if you'd like to write.


Anonymous said...

I bought one at a resale shop. Its worn but complete & has bobbin holder under moa. Any ideas on value? Or how to find value?