Yes, that’s right, I’m now the owner of 12 stunning spinning wheels and this wheel was made by a Brisbane spinning wheel maker during the late 70s, 80s and into the 90s: Brian Vincent. Whenever I come across an unusual wheel I instantly start researching it to find out as much as I can about the maker. In this case, I contacted the Queensland Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists requesting whether any of their members had any information about Mr Vincent. What a surprise to find out that Mr Vincent’s daughter, Helen is a member of that group!
I contacted Helen and she very kindly gave me lots of interesting information about her Dad. Mr Vincent passed away in 2007, aged 96. He’d been very active in his workshop until a couple of years prior to this. He made Helen one of his wheels, after teaching her to spin on his demo wheel. He usually sold them with three bobbins. Mr Vincent also made lazy kates and niddy noddies. He also made Helen a jumbo flier, with two bobbins, and she got him to modify a couple of her ordinary bobbins with a smaller whorl for lace weight spinning. Helen has been using her wheel since about 1981 and she has worn out three fliers and had them repaired.
Helen believes her Dad might have started to make stainless steel fittings, when he acquired a metal lathe and started metal turning. Originally the brass fittings were made by Selwyn McCullough, a good neighbour and friend. Sel’s wife Ina was a member of the Queensland Spinners, and it was his idea to make the wheels for the fledgling spinners group who mostly purchased the Ashford traditional from New Zealand in kit form (both have now passed on). Cecile Falvy, founder of the spinners group, gave Mr Vincent suggestions to modify the wheel. She called it the Rolls Royce. It is a well-balanced wheel and very fast, and Helen loves it. Cecile sent Helen a photo of a portrait painted of her with the wheel, called “The Spinster”. Mr Vincent said the wheel was Norwegian in design, and Helen believes he found the design in a Woodworker magazine. Mr Vincent was a member of the Queensland Spinners for a while and helped with maintenance of the hall.
At the time Mr Vincent started making wheels Helen was living in Adelaide, but she retired in 2001 and returned to Brisbane and moved in with her Dad. Helen joined the spinners in 2002, when her Dad took her along and introduced her. Helen has been spinning for 34 years or so. She also knits, crochets, weaves and felts and she loves to work with alpaca.
Helen kindly sent me a photo of her Dad taken on his 92nd birthday, in 2003.
I am so grateful to Helen for answering all my questions via email. I am so proud to be an owner of this gorgeous Nancy spinning wheel made by Mr Brian Vincent.
It is made from Queensland maple with brass fittings.
Truly beautiful craftsmanship…
I love the built-in lazy Kate…
And the tension mechanism is so easy to use…
I cannot stop looking at the beauty of the woodwork…
My wheel also came with four large bobbins…
It even has the original Dymo tape labelling…
You could say I am one happy spinner to be the owner of this stunning wheel.
I now have two Brisbane-made wheels: this Vincent ‘Nancy’ wheel and my Roy McKnight Suitcase Wheel.
And don’t forget, there’s lots of information about Australian spinning wheels on this site.
And just to let you know, Helen, your Dad’s wheel is in good company.
Now, I wonder what my # 13 spinning wheel will be…..
I’m also a bit chuffed as one of my blog posts about knitting Christmas decorations has been linked to the multitaskingmummy.com blog. It’s the very last Christmas craft idea.
Until next time….