Ever since I stumbled across my Crofter spinning wheel I’ve wanted a Camelot as they’re almost twins. My luck changed a couple of weeks ago when I found this advertisement on Gumtree.
Not only did I manage to snag the Camelot wheel but another spinning chair too.
My Camelot is slightly different from others as it has no front maiden and the orifice just rests on a piece of leather.
Another difference is it has bobbin-holder spikes at the back of the table instead of a kate in front, and does not have provision for scotch tension (which suits me just fine as I prefer double drive). You can just see the two bobbins behind the wheel.
What I really love about buying a second hand wheel is the cleaning process. I gave this wheel a couple of coats of a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and pure gum turpentine which has given the wood a beautiful sheen.
Here’s an except from New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers by Mary Knox, which is a culmination of five years’ work. This book is a tribute to the inventiveness and skill of New Zealand spinning wheel makers and the astonishing variety of their wheels.
Contents include: Introduction – Saxony style wheels – Upright wheels – Double table (Norwegian-style) wheels – Some interesting makers – Discussion and speculation – Conclusion.
Camelot: Sharp and Page began making these in their Mount Roskill (Auckland) factory in 1978. They exported most of their Camelots to Australia, the UK and the USA. The one in photograph 3-16 has no front maiden, the orifice resting on a piece of leather. There are two spikes at the back to hold bobbins. Some other Camelots have two maidens, provision to be converted to Scotch tension, and a built-in kate at the front. The wheel in photograph 3-17 is in the USA. It has an attractive inlay of light wood in the flyer.
A thesis prepared in 1985 for the Diploma of Export by Jean McDonnell says “Sharp and Page market an upright wheel (Camelot) for export and for the Wheel and the Loom. The wheel was produced on the suggestion of the Department of Trade and Industry. It is a planned strategy operation using distributors and exporting to Australia, UK and USA (in that order”. (The Wheel and Loom was a craft shop in Auckland).
The similarities between the Crofter (L) and the Camelot (R) are amazing. Those grooves in the wheel and even the colour of the wood. The main difference is the Crofter has an in-built kate at the front whereas the Camelot has two spikes behind the wheel to accommodate two bobbins.
The flyers are practically the same; only the bobbins are slightly different. The Camelot (R) bobbin is rounded on one end whereas the Crofter (L) bobbin is not.
The treadles: Crofter (L) and Camelot (R). The Camelot treadle is slightly narrower.
While we don’t know for sure the relationship between Camelot and Crofter they both seem to have been made by Sharp and Page.
I believe the chair may have been made by the spinning wheel maker as the wood turning on the legs is practically a match.
I particularly love the flower carved into the top of the chair. I now have three spinning chairs; all of them are different.
Here’s my Camelot ready and waiting for me to spin on her. As I have three other wheels with UFOs on them, I am restraining myself because I must finish those UFOs first!
I might add that the original advertisement on Gumtree only showed the one bobbin on the flyer so I contacted the seller to ask whether there were any more bobbins. She advised there were some more somewhere and she’d have a look. When I arrived she handed a package to me which contained these bobbins, a hardly used Ashford niddy noddy and an egg sock darner.
Yes, that’s right, eight extra bobbins and nine in total!! Just goes to show that it doesn’t hurt to ask sellers if they have extras as a large percentage of people selling wheels don’t know what they’re selling. They’ve either inherited or been given the wheel and just want to get rid of it.
That’s my news for now 🙂
Until next time…