Small Beginnings: An unexpected blessing launches a mystery

Some of you frequent readers of this column may recall that a year ago I had the pleasure of taking a fiber spinning lesson from a local alpaca farmer. The experience was challenging as well as addicting and I vowed at that time to someday own my own spinning wheel and learn to spin my own yarn. In the days and weeks that immediately followed, I began scouring eBay and Freecycle and yahoo groups searching for a bargain priced spinning wheel. I soon came to the conclusion that no one parts with a functioning wheel for a price that I was willing to pay. I may have fallen in love with spinning, but I am a cheapskate remember? I could not justify spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a hobby that I would only be able to devote occasional time to. So I remained wheel-less and contented myself with knitting the yarn I already owned instead of spinning new yarn.

As life rolls along and seasons change, my desire for a spinning wheel took a back seat to more pressing events requiring my immediate attention. Numerous projects underway at my place of employment demanded extra energy. Planning the events surrounding my son’s (now past) graduation and wedding and planning a future family vacation consumed many extra hours of my life as well. Soon, my quest for a wheel was the furthest thing from my mind and I hadn’t searched the internet for a deal in months. That’s when I got a mysterious phone call from my brother and I had no clue what he had up his sleeve.

He called yesterday to see if I was at home and if he could stop in. He would be here soon and he had a surprise for me. Aha. Now I started to worry! My brother’s surprises can be zany at times and I had to wonder what bizarre artifact might be soon appearing in my front yard from his latest flea market find? One can only imagine the treasures he unearths on his travels. So I waited with curiosity piqued for his arrival.

When I heard the dog begin barking to announce the arrival of our guests, I met my brother and my nephews at the door and my jaw hit the floor. I saw my brother walking around the back of his vehicle with a spinning wheel in his hands! I could not believe my eyes! I was stunned and amazed and truly speechless for quite a while. I’m certain he enjoyed the peace and quiet for however long it lasted, because when I found my voice, I began peppering him with questions; “What on earth? Where did you find this? I can’t believe it’s real! I never in a million years expected this!” and on and on I gushed.


After the shock wore off, I began examining the wheel. She needs some TLC for sure and a part here and there must be replaced. The distaff is broken but included; the footman is in the same condition. The leather fob that held the flyer in place was dry rotted and crumbled as soon as I tried to dislodge the bobbin but the wheel spins freely and doesn’t seem to wobble. I think she is spectacular and worth some elbow grease to clean her up. She is tattered and worn but she is mine. I love my wheel, dings and dents included.

The neatest part of the story is how my brother found her. He routinely listens to WEEU and heard a posting on their call in yard sale show. As soon as he heard the words “Spinning wheel” he grabbed the phone and started dialing. He remembered my quest even though I had forgotten it and before you know it, he had acquired this treasure that brought me quite the surprise and joy. The mystery is the name carved on the side: D. Klein. I would love to find out who this is and the history of my wheel. And so the research now begins both on how to repair and trace the origins of an old spinning wheel. You know I’ll keep you posted on the progress!