09 February 2011

Treading in ancient footsteps

Tonight, the Small People were admiring the wheels in the living room (there are quite a few at the moment…) and ended up over by the wee little Lithuanian wheel. They asked about the distaff (“you put the wool on this board and stick it in place with the poky thing, then you spin from there”) and turned the wheel to see the flyer go around. We looked at the double drive band, and saw that the string is tighter around the bobbin whorl than the flyer whorl, and so the bobbin and flyer turn at different speeds for each turn of the drive wheel. I twisted the bobbin, and Dinosaur Boy turned the flyer and we admired how the two pieces work independently of one another but cooperate to make yarn.

Then I helped them place their tiny feet on the treadle and said “Feel that? There were people spinning on this wheel a hundred years ago and their feet wore down that wood, right where your foot is now, treadling over and over to make yarn for their families.”

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Before she went to bed tonight, the little Princess Girl asked if tomorrow I would teach them more about the spinning wheels.

Of course I will. :)

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