A Tale of Two Spindles

Two spindles and some qiviut roving.  Very nice….

The square one is by Mike Williams, 10 g, and given to me by Mike as a thank you for something:

The other is a Bosworth, again 10 g.  This one was given me by the lovely Jan Clark, who was responsible for making me realise that the reason I had failed spectacularly to spindle spin before was that the spindles I was using were TERRIBLE.

If you look closely, you will see a slight mark in the Bossie:

And if you look closely at the roving (roving not clumps) you will see that it is a bit tatty…

There is a reason for this…

It was the evening of Saturday, 21st January, a night for dyeing at the Community room on Flotta.  The weather was as usual on a Saturday night, FOUL.  But that had never stopped us before.  I took over all the stuff – fibres, bits, dyes – in my car and when Linda opened up I started taking things in with her help.

I was carrying a box, with a bowl on top, then a closed ziplock bag containing 2 spindles and some roving, then a newspaper, then on the top a couple of kitchen rolls.  I couldn’t believe it when the wind came and took the ziplock bag from under the other things and whisked it away.  I dumped the rest just inside the door and looked back, about 3 seconds later, but there was no sign of the bag or its contents.  We could hardly stand up, and the rain was lashing down.  The two spindles and the qivit had gone….

I was gutted.  But there was nothing I could do.

The next day I wasn’t well so couldn’t have gone looking even if I had wanted to.  But there was just no point.  They were gone.

Then in the afternoon came a knock on the door.  Julie and Cathy, two of my ‘students’ and fellow Flottarians, were on the doorstep with two soaking wet spindles and a blobby mess of what was once qivit roving…

They had gone looking while walking their dogs, just in case…  Julie found the Bossie first – she thought it was a mushroom!  A bit later they found the square and then draped along the fence they found bits of the roving, all soaking wet, which they picked up and returned to me.

I still can’t believe it….!!

And while talking about spinning I had another I-don’t-believe-it-moment a couple of days ago.  I got a lovely braid of merino from my UK Spinners Ravelry group Secret Santa:

I had been thinking about just how I wanted to spin it, and decided to split it down the middle and then spin each half on different bobbins to ply together:

Before each spinning session I opened up the part of the top I was working on, keeping the fibres parallel:

I am spinning worsted to about a lace weight thickness.  The first bobbin is here:

I was about half way through the second when there was a clunk, and the wheel stopped turning.  On closer inspection I found that the wheel had come loose from its axle, and so pressure on the treadle clunked the footman down but it wouldn’t go up, and the wheel wouldn’t turn.

Fortunately this is my Orkney wheel made by Granville Swanney, who lives on the island.  One phone call later and he came down to see what was wrong.  He secures the axle to the wheel with a couple of ‘pins’ and these had either sheared or worn a grove inside the hub.  I came home yesterday evening after a meeting to find the mended wheel waiting for me.  It has been working well all day!

There are some lovely people on this island….!!


8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Spindles

  1. How lucky to have found both the spindles and the qiviut. And how lucky that being draped along a fence in the rain is second nature for qiviut! I bet the original muskox would have been happy to find a convenient fence to rub against when ridding itself of its winter coat.

  2. How great that you got both fibre and spindles back. I have a bosworth the same as yours, but I have found that I do my spindle spinnning best on a
    Golding (yes I have finally mastered it) and on my last trip to Alaska, Nikki and I stayed with the Goldings and saw their spindles being made, they are a great family and the workshop is a sight to behold

  3. Wow, you are the luckiest person!! To have both spindles come back intact & not carried off by fish or birds . . . LOL And the quivet too?? Boy, you really have horseshoes . . . . And that’s quite an interesting color combo in that braid! I could make wonderful socks with that or maybe a lace cowl instead, hmmmm. Makes me want to spend the day spinning that does! Any ideas for a project or is it going to age a little???

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