Gretel the Spinning Wheel: An Estate Sale Love Story

Earlier this week I dropped my daughter off at VBS and just happened to glance through the ads to see that an estate sale was going on a couple of miles from our church. From the ad I saw that they had Longaberger Baskets and wingback chairs. “Oh good,” I thought. “I bet I can get some 80s craft books at this sale!” And really, that was all I was going after. Until…of course…I saw her:

    I swear, my heart started to pound and I could barely breathe. I’d been pricing wheels last month in anticipation of going to Fiber Christmas in July and those prices were completely out of my range. I texted photos of the wheel to my studio buddy and spinning ingenue House Sparrow Fine Nesting. Was the price good? Did it look good? It’s like….I couldnt even think I was just in luuuuv. Suddenly I was thinking all:

 and of course:

   I hovered over that wheel like a nervous chicken, knowing I hadnt really planned to spend more than pittance at the sale but also realizing “when am I EVER going to have this kind of luck again?” It was an Ashford Traveler wheel with all the bobbins and bits and a ‘lazy Kate’ attached. With all this flying around in my brain,  I made the decision— I picked up that wheel and I BOUGHT it.  I put her in my car, all a-twitter with being smitten, despite all the dust and actual (fairytale?) cobwebs covering her. The wheel had obviously been in storage somewhere for quite a while.I just prayed that the wheel worked and that I at least came out even on what I spent on her.

   I think I named her before I even got home. I’d learned from my fiber art friends that they give their wheels names, like an old friend. And I had just the perfect name for her— Gretel. Old timey, folksy, and a wee bit fairy tale.

  So– I got her home, dusted her off (there may have been sweet nothings whispered. Don’t judge) and polished her up. Tasha (my studio-mate, not Tudor, lol) looked it over and declared her totally workable. There may have been a moment of terror when the conrod snapped in half when I was cleaning the wheel, but luckily it was a very easy and cheap fix. 

   The next day I took the wheel to see my friend Jane Deason— Fiber Art Guru and Maven of all things fiber and spinning— who also happens to be a dealer for Ashford Spinning Wheels. When I sat down with her to look at the wheel she laughed, “You know you practically stole this, don’t you?” So….looks like I got a very good deal. 😀

   Jane gave me some great tips on caring for my new wheel and I bought a maintenance kit to replace any bits from the wheel that may need updating or might break like the old conrod did. The wheel is probably from the late 70s/into the 80s and from the look of her, wasn’t used too much. Oooooh, all that is about to change. Gretel is going to get a new lease on life, and I’m vowing to make the most out of what really comes down to dumb luck. but surely—- Gretel and I? We’re meant to be 😉

   And so….here we go. On a yarn spinning adventure! And this will dovetail so nicely with next week’s Tasha Tuesday post! Be sure to check back Tuesday for that post…..with more goodies to win!~

Have a wonderful weekend!~

7 thoughts on “Gretel the Spinning Wheel: An Estate Sale Love Story

  1. Heather, it was meant to be!! I am so happy you were able to snag such a beauty by chance at an unbelievable price! Wow, let the learning proceed. Can't wait to see more artisan wool coming out of your studio. Can I have a lesson in October when I visit?Please, pretty please???LOL!!


  2. I'm very happy for you!! I know how it can be difficult to find reasonable priced vintage spinning wheel. I'm sure you will like to spin.And I can't wait for another post about Tasha Tudor!


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