A friend arrived at the door this morning with a plastic bag in her hand. “For you.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a half-size ORKNEY spinney – yes, not just a half sized wheel, but one with the three Orkney features.
It was made by Arnie Rendall – the name W A Rendall is stamped on the table – in about 1970. Karen and her husband Marcus had moved in to a place where there was a built-in unit which needed something in one space. She saw another wheel Arnie had made and got him to make her one. It has stood in all their houses over the years, but now they are preparing to move from the big farm house to a smaller one, and she is clearing out. She wondered whether I might like it…!!
She apologised for its condition, but I don’t know why! OK, there was some rust on the steel bits, but this is Orkney – everything rusts as soon as you look at it! It has lived recently in their porch, in full view of all the mud etc from a diary farm.
Everything works, but the bobbin is tight on the flyer. So I am sending it down to Mike Williams (of drop spindle fame) for some TLC. A couple of the hooks have rusted off, and the others are bent. The steel rod at the centre of the flyer is a bit rusty where it meets the wood and it is this which is stopping the bobbin running smoothly. I have also asked Mike to make a couple more bobbins and a swearie box…
As to scale, the wheel is 8 ins across and the whole thing is 17.5 ins tall. The bobbin is about 2.5 ins long. It really is a thing of a huge amount of interest. Mr Rendall may still be alive – Karen wasn’t sure – and I will be finding out that one from a relative of his, hopefully on Sunday.