|[Photo: Annie's spinner from the 70's |
from when she lived on a farm in the
This spinning wheel has a variety of names: Indian Head Spinner, Country Spinner, Salish Spinner, and Cowichan Spinner. They were popular with the Vancouver Island Coast Salish spinners especially in the 60's and 70's, and were instrumental for spinning the yarn for Cowichan Sweaters.
|[Photo: My spinner attached to the |
Singer treadle. The Singer has been taken
off and can be seen on the floor]
This is not a machine for spinning fine yarns. Forget the Scottish ring shawl yarns- those shawls that are spun so fine they can be slipped through a wedding ring. This is for thick yarns. Not necessarily dense but bulky. Everything is oversized: the bobbin, the hooks and even the orifice. This makes it perfect for spinning art yarns, thick yarns, rug yarns and for plying. It's currently having a revitalization as modern spinners are looking for exactly this type of wheel to add 'things' to the yarn. Crazy weird 'things' like miniature skull heads, beads, buttons, feathers, eye balls, etc.
Traditionally, fibre was pre-drafted into a rough roving, or, in more modern times, roving was bought. But in either case you pre-drafted a pile in preparation for the spinning.
These spinners are fast. They whip the fibre onto the bobbin. There is a Scottish tension but be prepared to have the yarn drawn in quickly. I heard a story of a Coast Salish woman who was producing yarn very, very quickly, so quickly dust and bits of farmland were causing a cloud of dirt, dust and debris around the spinner and she had to wear a mask to avoid the cloud and flying bits.
Since this is such a polpular post, I have edited to add some resources.
Here are a couple of books you might be interested in:
Working with Wool, a Coast Salish Legacy . Although it looks at the history of the Cowichan Sweaters, it covers the history of the wool too.
And for children,Yetsa's Sweater a child learn's how a Cowichan Sweater is made.