Castle Wheel

The Castle Wheel

Sometimes it happens that I stumble upon things that speak to me in the language of story, that is, symbol.

I was wandering around the street market near my house this weekend and spied a cranky old wooden spindle behind some piles of vintage French cottons and lace on a particular stall. My heart jumped and I ran to the stall (I’m not a runner, but sometimes exceptions must be made!) and behold, the most beautiful old spinning wheel straight out of Time.

Instantly knowing I had to have this amazing beautiful treasure, I looked over the carved spindles and wheel, turned the old iron handle, and the whole thing creaked into life, the wooden structure rocked gently in rhythm. I asked the seller how much it was, bracing myself and expecting him to say a figure out of my reach. He was incredibly apologetic, saying it was broken, had parts missing and a bit of historical wood-worm damage, and the wheel needed someone to fix her up. He wanted £10. I almost fainted. I explained that I would use her as she was, as the wheel still turned by using the iron handle, and I would use her for storytelling. He said perfect. We closed the sale and I ran home feeling like I’d won the lottery!! I am shown time and again that magic is real and the universe meets us in strange and wonderful ways.

So, by the power of the Internet, I’ve researched and found she’s a Castle Wheel, which is a kind of portable spinning wheel for the travelling crafts-person, the base and the wheel stock slot easily apart and together to carry about the countryside! How amazing and romantic. Who had used her and where… what yarns had she spun?

She still has structural integrity and the wheel turns, but as a functioning spinner-of-thread she’s retired… There’s a missing section with all the important working parts missing; the bobbin, whorl and maiden. Then there’s the foot treadle which has long gone. So the original mechanics of the spinning wheel are now lost to us, but she stands proud and the wheel does indeed turn, so to give her a new life and purpose, she will now start a career as an actress and performer on the stage, not bad when your about 200 years old!!!

I look forward to spinning some yarns with her and sharing them with you!

Below are some photos of my new best friend plus some wonderful images of spinning wheels being used in historical settings, I’ll do some research and add the picture credits in the next week. Enjoy!



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