Yes, you could say I am officially addicted to spinning wheels. Just managed to buy my third one in as many weeks! I am now the proud owner of a Tarra Carousel spinning wheel which brings my total to four wheels. There are always lots of second hand spinning wheels for sale on Ebay however most of them are generally located in Victoria so when I manage to source them close to my home, I feel I’d be mad not to take advtange of that! That’s my rationale for buying them 🙂
Tarra wheels were made in Yarram, Victoria; by 1984 they had produced
over 10,000. Tarra made a variety of models, and changes were made over time: in
general the construction became lighter and the treadle smaller. Their horizontal wheels have characteristic rectangular tops to the maidens and wheel support posts. Most are made of Tasmanian Myrtle, nothofagus cunninghamii. Tarra uprights included the Carousel with horizontal maidens. There was also a plainer model just called “Upright”.(From New Zealand Spinning Wheels website).
As mentioned, I bought her on Ebay and this time only had a 30 minute drive to pick her up. She cost me $170 (Australian dollars) and here’s the photo that appeared on Ebay. Look at all that excess wool that’s hanging off her. Makes for a great photo doesn’t it?
It took me a while to get rid of all that wool and this is her before the big clean up. The flyer has a bit of surface rust.
Bobbins minus all the wool…
She was very dusty…
All the bits and pieces…five bobbins and even a threading hook! I RP7 (WD40) and a kitchen dish scrubber was used to clean the metal rods and the flyer.
After the clean up. Unfortunately one tiny part is missing (blue arrow). As you can see from the green arrow, there’s a small locking mechanism which is missing from the other side. It is needed to tighten the hook onto the flyer. I have emailed the seller on the off chance it fell off in the box while he was lifting it out but I’m not optimistic. I will have a chat to the staff at Bunnings tomorrow to get some ideas as what I could use as a substitute. Any ideas?
Nice and shiny after a bit of cedar oil. Note the three weights at the bottom of the wheel….they allow the wheel to always return to the same position. Very clever.
Nice clean and polished bobbins…
The threading hook sits in that little hole. I have since widened the gap between the top handle and the mother of all so the threading hook doesn’t hit the mother of all.
The leather that joins the footman to the treadle board…
Three of my four girls…from left to right….Little Peggy, Wee Peggy and Tarra Carousel. Don’t they match my wall unit? They all look so ‘at home’.
In all her shining glory….
Now, I’ve saved the best for last…she came with the original manuals!!!! Yes, that’s right I have these lovely manuals about Tarra Spinning Wheels: How to care for, maintain and spin on your Tarra Spinning Wheel.
She also came with these photocoped instructions on Learn to Spin that were published by Ashford Handicrafts in New Zealand. They’re photocopied on foolscap paper so I’m assuming we’re looking at the 1970s / early 1980s. I remember typing on foolscap and quarto paper in 1974 when I started working in the State Government 🙂
And finally, a bound book called Wool Gathering published by the Hamilton Wool and Craft Guild in New Zealand. It is in very good condition. Originally published in 1974 and the fourteenth reprint was in 1985, it has chapters on everything imaginable about spinning, dyeing, tanning, knitting patterns, recipes for bread, rearing a pet lamb, hand papermaking and introduction to a herb garden. Talk about a cornucopia of information! It contains just over 90 pages.
You know I feel quite privileged to own such a beautiful piece of Australian history. Now I just need to start using all these wheels rather than keep buying them.
Oh and one more piece of good news. The Redlands Spinners and Weavers meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month just around the corner from where I live. I could practically walk there but would look funny carrying my spinning wheel down the street. Anyway, they have now added additional meetings: every second and fourth Saturday afternoon between 1.30pm and 3.30pm at The Artist Tree which is also in the same suburb that I live in. So that’s where I’m going this Saturday afternoon. So excited!!