The spinning wheel is its itself an exquisite piece of machinery.
My head daily bows in reverence to its unknown inventor.
A few years ago we invited a Hutterite grandmother to our school. She's one of the few Hutterites who can still spin. She lives at a near-by colony and gladly came to demonstrate this lost skill. As her daft fingers worked at the wheel, our students stood round her, wide-eyed with wonder, watching the bundle of wool in her hands being spun into a spool of yarn. This was almost as magical as Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold! To be sure, soft, warm wool was like gold for our grandparents; more so than it is today, when we can easily buy stockings, mittens and gloves. Really, how often to we stop to think, when we wear woolen items, where they come from (beyond store), how they're made? I know I never do.
Today, if there's a spinning wheel left in a home, it's been relegated to collect dust in the basement or in the attic, or some other forgotten corner on the colony. A few years ago my sister, Elma rescued one such treasure from the basement of a friend. It now stands in the office of our house, in need of repair. When people see it, they're taken back in time, when things were much slower paced than today. When grandma would sit at the spinning wheel, humming to herself or telling stories to grandchildren, as she made sure there was wool around to keep the hands and feet of her family toasty warm.
Do you have any spinning stories to share?
I was inspired to start a new blog series, Treasures of Yesteryear, when someone sent me a message through the blogger contact form, asking me about Hutterite antiques. If you can think of such items I could feature, please send me a message or leave a comment. Thanks!