Whose got a new old wheel then?

FINALLY, it is home. My new wheel.

It is an old Orkney wheel, and I mean old, not 1970s. It is impossible to date these things for definite, but it is probably pre WW1. It is a functional wheel – beautifully proportioned – made to be used not looked at.

It has had quite a bit of real wear, but it has been well cared for. At some point more recently someone who didn’t know what they were doing has made new pegs for the uprights – and put the whole uprights and flier assembly on the table the wrong way round! You can see that the wheel rim and the whorls don’t line up. They will then have realised it didn’t work, and put it away in an attic.

Longer ago, the front maiden has been replaced – you can see that it is longer than the original one at the back, and is turned slightly differently.

The screw on the other maiden, the bobbin and the wheel all move well. This wheel has been looked after!

I know it was owned by a family called Corrigal, and went south with the aunt of the seller. The seller thought it was the aunt’s grandmother’s wheel, which would fit my estimate of its age…

Granville Swanney, Orkney’s last active wheel maker (who happens to live a couple of hundred yards from me), is going to do the restoration work for me. The wheel itself is in good nick, and all the parts move freely – the whorl has a couple of nibbles out, but comes off its screw easily, and the bobbin fits perfectly.

Once it is in working order, it will sit in the corner of the Flotta heritage centre when it opens next year, and I (or others) will be using it for demos.

Can’t wait!!

14 thoughts on “Whose got a new old wheel then?

  1. There would be rampant joy if one day I would ever get to show up threre and be able to see that wheel and read the history again– or better yet, see you or someone spinning. That is a real treasure, and how wise and kind you are to see it into a good home. Betsy H USA

  2. Thank you all for your kind words. I have been looking for a while for a really nice old Orkney wheel and this seemed to fit the bill. I only found out its pedigree after buying it… It will be a few months before Granville can get to it as he is presently making display cases for the heritage centre. But once it is up and running I am sure to tell you about it!


  3. Wow, how beautiful ! I am truly envious , but really happy for you. I wish I could come up your way and spin a wee with you at the Heritage Center.

  4. Hi LIZ,your Orkney wheel looks great, got the pattern for the teacosy and look forward to doing them, hope Scottie is well. Best wishes Muriel Peter

  5. That’s extraordinary Liz. The wheel is in amazing condition. I will look forward to seeing it live my next visit to Flotta! Congratulations.

  6. It’s a lovely little thing. Will the person who’s restoring it have to make new pegs, or is it just a case of putting it together properly?

    1. I have several pegs. The two holding the uprights have broken off, so it will just be a case of drilling those out and turning the top round by 180 degrees. There are also a couple of other small bits, but it isn’t a big job at all. Granville will also be making a couple more bobbins and a sweerie box to sit with it.

  7. What a lovely wheel, and how good that it is being brought back to life and use. I’m sure all the spinners who have used it in the past would really appreciate that….

  8. What a lovely wheel…and an old one, to boot! What does Mr. Swanney charge for making a new one in the old tradition? How would I contact him? I visited Orkney two summers ago, am an avid spinner and budding knitter in love with North Ronaldsay sheep, and would love to one day own such a wheel. Thank you!

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