Friday, January 30, 2015

For Posterity

I felt the sudden urge to document my Reeves spinning wheel.  It was purchased in 1994 after I had tried out several different wheels at the various fiber festivals that year.  Once I knew that I wanted a 24"  Reeves, I looked for the vendor with the best price and ordered one, unfinished,  to be shipped to my house.  At that time the price was around $460.  I sold my Ashford wheel to help defray the cost.

This is the wheel, 20 years later
I wanted to embellish my new wheel with things that were important to me, so I painted, stenciled and had the children help me make it mine.  On the treadle I put heart and home.  Jesse was 16 at the time and as a Boy Scout had gone to Philmont hiking the high mountains.  This was his imprint.

Mountains for Jesse

Becca was 13 and Annie only 9, so their contributions were happy thoughts.

Happy sunshine

Annie's happy self

At first a lot of spinners looked aghast because I had painted my wheel, but over time that seems to have faded.  It is a wheel that suits me perfectly.  How many thousands of yards of yarn I have happily spun on it. All the projects that come from it.  The happy indifference in which I haul it around to demonstrations, friend's homes, craft fairs.  Then I found out that my wheel is now worth more than $1,000!!  By that I mean that if I were to purchase a similar wheel, it would cost me that much.  Made me stop and look at it and consider treating it with more respect.
The frustrating part of owning this wheel is that I  can no longer find authentic Reeves parts for it. This is because Rick Reeves stopped making wheels some time ago, and sold his company to Schacht.   My bobbins have taken the biggest hit as the ends of them are so finely turned that over the years many have snapped off bits.  The one bobbin I bought that I was told would fit perfectly, doesn't.  I use it anyway.  Lately I dropped my largest whorl and cracked it.  I hope I can repair it somehow.  Until then I have stopped using it.  The whorl Schacht offers might fit, but it is not the same ratio as mine.
But the biggest reason to photograph the wheel is this:

Handmade by Rick Reeves Marengo, IA USA

His signature is slowly fading away to nothing.  I don't want to lose it, so documenting it like this brings me comfort.


  1. What a lovely idea to have your children paint something meaningful to them on your spinning wheel. I am sure as time has gone on the happy memories those little paintings bring you are priceless. Love your wheel and the special meaning it has for you.