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Topic: Pretty Betty Rides Again  (Read 4214 times)
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« on: May 18, 2008 09:24:31 PM »

I have a story.  I only just started spinning.  The day of my first spinning class, my Grandma Betty died of a heart attack.  I took my drop spindle with me on the trip to say goodbye.  A few weeks later, some of my aunts and uncles were cleaning out her home, and my mother had asked them to set aside any of her crafting supplies that might still be left, because my sis and I are the only ones of her 19 living grandchildren who are crafty.  They found a drop spindle.  They said they wouldn't have known what it was if I hadn't brought mine with me to the wake.  (It's a good old-fashioned party, so it wasn't offensive.  Polish Catholics are a lot like Irish Catholics.)  No one knew my Grandma Betty spun.  It made me feel very close to her in a bittersweet way.

Fast forward to the last day of my spinning class.  I want a wheel, badly.  Someone has, just that week, posted a classified for an old spinning wheel and some "extras".  I call, it's still available.  The woman is a local fiber artist.  Her husband thought she might like to learn to make her own yarn.  She never did, the equipment was never used, and she was tired of storing it.  I got an Ashford Traditional double-driveband, a lazy kate and extra bobbins, a pair of hand carders, 10 oz of carded kid mohair and over 1.5 pounds of mohair locks for $125.  The wheel was unfinished and had never been used.  I didn't find this all that astonishing until I got it home and was going through the literature she'd included, and found the receipt.  From 1986.  22 years, and the wheel had never been used.  I plan to change that.

So, my wheel is named Pretty Betty, and some day, she will have that name, along with a pinup picture of my Grandma Betty as a young woman, tattooed on her pretty face.  Meanwhile, she has a rose on her treadle.  I finished her in Varathane gel stain in Ipswich Pine, painted the rails and the maidens, painted a rose on her treadle and finished the whole thing with a light polyurethane spray finish.  (I know, oil would have been better, but since there are painted surfaces, I opted for the poly.  I did NOT poly the working parts, like the groove in the wheel, the bobbins or the whorl.  I'm considering oil finishes for those parts, but may poly them eventually.)  I also picked up a maintenance kit and used that to replace the drive band, conrod joint and tension springs, plus I oiled her but good.

Here she is when I got her, looking a little bedraggled.

And here she is now.  Pretty Betty rides again!


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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2008 05:12:20 AM »

Thank you so much for sharing your very touching and uplifting story, what a great way to start my day and my week! 
Thank you, thank you, thank you. 
And may you have a lifetime of happy spinning on Pretty Betty.

ps - I have one just like it and I think you may have inspired me to spend some quality time with it. Smiley

"Get rid of all your boring, tiresome friends. Make friends with cabaret stars, exotic dancers, and down-on-their-luck royality instead." Jonathan Adler
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2008 05:31:30 AM »

That is the best spinning story ever- how wonderful that it is a connection between you and your Grandma.  And your wheel is a beautiful tribute to her- congrats, and wishing you many years of spinning!

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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2008 02:34:53 PM »

What a wonderful story!

Many years of enjoyment for you and Pretty Betty


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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2008 07:25:56 PM »

Thanks guys!  I couldn't be happier with her!

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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2008 07:40:03 PM »

Beautiful story!
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2008 08:33:58 PM »

Congratulations on your new wheel Smiley
What a great story to go with it!
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008 09:36:48 AM »

Lovely story and lovely wheel!
The day I got my spinning wheel- which my grandpa got for me as a wedding gift - he had a heart attack, but he was ok.  When he was in the hospital I brought him some of the yarn I had made and it really brightened his day.  I named my wheel 'Bobby' after him. Smiley

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hee hee.

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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2008 05:04:56 PM »

What a wonderful story!

I like making stuff. Rumor has it, I'm an elf. Like a Santa Elf, not one of those elegant LOTR types.  Mostly because I compulsively craft and partially because I have green shoes.
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2008 05:31:35 PM »

What a lovely story!  And I love love LOVE the way you painted your wheel!

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