Friday, August 29, 2014

Francis, the Rescue Wheel, a very happy new beginning

Incredibly, the story of restoring the Rick Reeves' wheel that Karen Ford found at a garage sale is over (see Francis, the Rescue Wheel, Part 1 to read from the beginning)! Here is what has happened since the last installment, where Carl had finished the flyer...

Carl Spriggs finished the rest of the new parts:

(Photo by Carl Spriggs)

Then the package arrived at Karen's home...

(Photo by Karen Ford)

You can see the two uprights that will hold the drive wheel. The upright on the left is from the original wheel. Karen had sent that to Carl so he could make the new one, which is on the right.

I was lucky to get to help Karen put the new parts on the old wheel (I'm Mary Spanos), and honored to get to spin on the beautifully restored Rick Reeves' wheel, after Karen, of course. (Karen dyed the bright green wool that she is spinning.)

(Photo by Mary Spanos)

Seeing the wheel work now, I was reminded of how it looked when I first saw a photo of it. This wonderful wheel came in to our lives as an incomplete collection of wheel parts at a garage sale.

(Photo by Nancy Wooldridge)

They were just parts, but they were beautiful. Karen found the Ravelry group devoted to Rick Reeves wheels (Reeves Rock) and through that group found Rick Reeves (who has retired from wheel making after supplying 1,000s of handspinners with beautiful wheels that spin really well). Rick Reeves assured Karen that Carl Spriggs would do a fine job of making new parts (you can find Carl on Etsy). So, Karen took a leap of faith, brought the wheel parts home, cleaned off the duck tape (yes, duck tape!), and started the process of giving this wheel a new life.

Restored wheel, front. The rear upright, the flyer and bobbin, and several small parts that aren't visible, are all new, made by Carl Spriggs. The remaining parts are original and made by Rick Reeves (this and the following photos by Mary Spanos).

The back of the restored wheel.
 Karen started calling this wheel "Francis" as soon as it moved from the St. Francis garage sale to her home. Now, Francis is a great spinner, easy to adjust to the perfect tension, and the treadle action is just right. With the wheel placed so that treadling with my right foot was comfortable, the orifice was right in front of me, more like a castle-style wheel rather than off to the left like many saxony wheels. So, it felt like everything was in just the right place, very comfortable. Karen is going to have many, many happy hours and years of spinning on this wheel.

A few other note-worthy actors participated in this adventure: Skip Ford, Karen's husband; Marge Reeves, Rick Reeves' wife who did the finishing on the wheels back when Karen's wheel was made; Nancy Wooldridge, Karen's friend who volunteered at the St. Francis Xavier garage sale and called Karen to ask her about this wheel when it showed up at the sale; and the other helpful residents at Karen's home: Chester, Emma, Gus, (the corgis), and Lizzy and Molly (the cats).

Chester, resting up from his job as a therapy dog.

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