Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Spinning Wheel

Today's prompt is two-fold.
I have always been interested in learning how things were done in the past. I learned to tat, knit and crochet from my grandma. I learned to sew from my mom,
along with lots of old-fashioned cooking secrets.
My sister was far better at all these things...and far more patient. I inherited a few projects from her. One was this spinning wheel. It isn't really an heirloom except that it was hers. I never got to see her use it. My brother-in-law sent it home with me...except there are no directions and I have a feeling some parts are missing.

Then a member of the Yahoo Sketchbook Group, Anna, offered some wool. Five bags full arrived over the weekend.
Doesn't it all look soooo cool? I love it.
I've tried finding this spinning wheel and the makers and the place she got it on the Internet and although I find brief mentions I'm not finding these specifically. The metal tag on the front says:
"Walter Kircher, 3550 Marburg/L., West Germany"

The paper tag above that says:
"Greentree Ranch Wools, Countryside Handweavers, 163 N. Carter Lake Road, Loveland, Colorado 80537, 303-667-6183"

My sister lived outside Brighton, Colorado and I remember how excited she was when she called to tell me about her spinning wheel. She had Nubian goats and also some sheep and also tried spinning dog hair. I don't know if she succeeded in that.
I want to try this wool but don't have a clue where to start. I want to feel and hear what it was like for my ancestors who spun. It must be a very relaxing job. I've found some videos to watch but first I need to learn more about my particular wheel. Can anybody help? Does somebody have instructions for this spinning wheel they could copy for me or tell me where to order them?

In the meantime, I'm thinking about the other traditions that were passed from generation to generation and are now being lost by so many families. I have lots of Grandma and Great grandma's doilies, quilts, and some dishes. I've forgotten how to tat, not that I was very good at it. Grandma couldn't slow her hands down enough for most of us to really pick it up. My great niece has her old shuttle.

Have you carried on any traditions? Are there still people around you could learn from? Are there some you could teach yourself like my sister did, and I now hope to do, with the spinning?

These things are so important. We all should work to keep them alive.

BTW, Anna also sent me some goat soap. It is lovely. You can find her here.


  1. Lucky you to have some wonderful wool and a challenge ahead of you, Rita!! I loved reading about this.

    I inherited creativity from my mother. She prized it and encouraged thinking outside the box. Her response to all my "what if" musings when I was a child was, "try it!!" The sky was the limit.

  2. new follower joined the blog hop visit when you can http://www.dedastudios.blogspot.com Every Wednesday I play "Guess the Bottle" contest. I slump a bottle them take pics and everyone guesses on what was in the bottle before it was slumped... Fun Game

  3. Did you get instructions for the Kircher spinning wheel? I have been loaned one and don't have a clue where to start?

  4. Nancy,
    I didn't get official instructions but between a friend and that it was already mostly set up by my sister I have figured it out. I can't figure out how to email you so hopefully you will check back here.

  5. CpennyforyourthoughtsSeptember 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Hi, my mother sold the Kircher spinning wheels in her knitting/weaving shop back in the 70's and 80's. I have one. ... really enjoyed the Kircher because it unscrews and can be taken apart and put in a relatively small box for transporting. This is a wheel many got for its ease of operation and portability.... made it great to take to workshops. From your picture it looks like all the parts are there. It is put together properly.... you just need to unwrap the yarn wound around the outside of the yarn guide, thread it through the orifice, adjust the tension which is the little peg with the cotton yarn wound around it,.... and go. It appears to be already completely set up.

    Regards, Carolyn Penny, Raleigh, NC

  6. Thank you, Carolyn,
    I've tried to answer your directly but can't seem to figure it out. I have gotten the spinning wheel to work and you are right. It is all there. I just haven't had the time to practice the tension and all. I can see why our ancesters were calmer . . . it was jobs like this in the evening instead of television.

  7. Have you started spinning with your Kircher wheel yet? I have one, got 3rd or 4th hand and I love it. If you want help please feel free to contact me!

  8. I just bought a Kircher wheel from a lady on EBay. I love the wheel but am not sure how to use it. If anyone can help with instructions I would be so grateful. My email address is chrisbell6@bigpond.com. I am hoping to do some spinning when I move with my husband to St George in Queensland in a few weeks. Any help would truly be appreciated. Regards, Keren


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