Tuesday, September 22, 2015

She Followed Me Home ;-)

I've been keeping my eye out for an antique Canadian Production Wheel (CPW) and found this pretty wheel at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival.  Diane from Acorn Fiber Works had just picked her up from an estate sale the week before, so I think it was destiny ;-).

This wheel was made by Frederic Bordua, from Sainte Hyacinthe, Quebec.  It was likely made between 1870-1923.  1923 because that's when he died, so I'm guessing the wheel is easily 100 years old.

Apparently most people "name" their CPWs (and other wheels).  I don't have any of my wheels named, but maybe I could be uber clever and call her Hyacinthe ;-).

Her "chicken nut".  Do you see it?

Cast iron treadle.

This wheel has worked very hard.  See the groove from where the yarn travels from the hooks through the orifice?

See all the tiny grooves on the back side of flyer?  I think those are wear marks, too.  I believe I've seen someone make a cross over a flyer to change tension or draw in or something, but I'm not sure if that would cause those marks.  Would wool even do that?  Maybe cotton or flax?

No marks on the hook sides.  Any thoughts?  

A trait of the CPWs is that they chatter to you as they spin.  This wheel has a lot to say!  She spins perfectly, but I'm wondering if she's a little louder than she should be.  Sounds like it's coming from the bobbin area.  The only thing I see that appears a little suspicious is that the two maidens don't seem exactly even.  The left one is a bit tipped forward compared to the right.  Is that a clue? Anything else I should look for?

Or should I just listen to her stories and enjoy her?

I think she was pretty happy to spend some time stretching her legs on the back porch yesterday :-).

Don't you wish these wheels (and other antiques) could really talk?


  1. Yes I do! I wish my tractor, Eugene, could talk! I imagine he is just a bit horrified by being taken over by a "girl farmer"!! Beautiful wheel, and I hope you have fun imagining past spinners watching while you work.

    1. He might have been horrified "on paper", but once he met you and realized how cool you were, I bet he loves helping you! :-D

  2. Lucky girl, it's looking like she's in perfect shape I hope she will bring joy to your life. St-Hyacinthe is about one and half hour away from here, Bordua was one of the most amazing wheel maker, Quebec's wheels are chatty just like it's people... lol you know the french bla bla bla bla it never stops.

  3. VERY pretty wheel! And I think Hyacinthe is a great name for her.

  4. My theory for the grooves on the underside of the flyer is that it happens when winding off the bobbin. These wheels only had one bobbin and it was wound off frequently. I find that as I wind off my yarn travels through those grooves. And I adore the chicken nut.

  5. Oh she is a true thing of beauty. I wish that it could talk I imagine if it did it would be in french but that is OK. I just received a wooden cradle as a gift made in Quebec. They were truly wonderful craftsmen back then. You are going to have a beautiful long life together I am sure. Hug B

  6. Flax is a hard fibre....what a wondrous wheel!

  7. That wheel will have a long and happy life with you! That Andy says the grooves look more like marks left from a coping saw or other tool. Do the marks extend past the bobbin farther into the curve of the flyer? If so, it would indicate something other than yarn having created them. Have fun! Can't wait to hear how you like spinning on her!

  8. Beautiful wheel! Love her name too. Enjoy have conversations with her on the back porch.

    I have one that is similar but it's not in as good a shape as Hyacinthe. I think when I bought it the seller told me it was a flax wheel. The spindle where the yarn would go is sort of broken and it's got a few other flaws but I love it as a decoration. I also have a huge spinning wheel and yarn winder but have no idea how it works. I'm pretty sure it's missing some parts. I still like the history they represent.

  9. It has found its perfect home. ;-)

  10. What a beaut! I love that dark natural-ish patina. My wheel isn't so old or beautiful, but her name is Louie - can you guess what kind she is? :) (My sewing machines are named too.) You will add a fabulous chapter to her story.

  11. What a beautiful wheel! She found a wonderful home and will enjoy the porch :-) And yes, it would be amazing if our antiques could chat and tell us their stories...

  12. How lucky you both are to have this chance to work together making pretty yarn. And, yes, I wish a lot of these wheels could talk. What interesting tales they would tell.

  13. I think a video is in order, so that we can listen to her chatter!

  14. Oh gosh! YAY!!!


  15. Beautiful! I should take close up photos of mine and all it'
    s parts.... Mine is from Norway probably about 1860. I don't know if it is all there...maybe I should put it on my bucket list. Maybe someday:)

  16. What a beautiful wheel to bring home. Judging by her chatter she's happy to be with you! Enjoy your new buddy!

  17. Hyacinthe is very pretty. Whike you spin on her, think of the connection you have with the spinsters whosesingles made those delicate grooves.

  18. What a beauty! Mine is not as shiny but is as old. Interesting what Karen Battersby said, my wheel also came with one bobbin and I had 3 others made. This was a wool wheel with one whorl being used for warp and one for weft...so speaks Norman Kennedy, who certified my CPW. There is also a Ravelry site for CPW owners. They also do the best lace yarn...see the Ply magazine that talks about spinning fine.


I love to read your comments! Thank you for sharing :-).


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