Fiber Arts & Furry Critters

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Road Trip!

Yesterday we all piled in the van and took a trip to northern Vermont, to the home of David Paul and The Merlin Tree. Despite the fact that the drive was slightly over three hours each way, we had a wonderful time. I can't say enough about how nice these people are! Mr. Paul and his wife are very friendly and welcoming. The workshop was amazing! There are antique wheels everywhere in various stages of repair, and some of them are stunningly gorgeous. His workshop is also very organized, unlike my own. Now I'm thinking of ways I can clean up and organize downstairs.

We turned the kids loose with the digital camera and a bunch of disks. I haven't looked at their pictures yet, but if there are any particularly good ones that are actually in focus, I may post some of them. They had a wonderful time taking turns with the camera, as well as meeting the sheep and goats, the beautiful Great Pyrenees dog (what a sweet dog!) and several cats. I got to have a look at Kathy's shop, too - some lovely Ashford and Louet wheels, yarn, accessories, supplies - and space!

David Paul shared lots of info on Canadian Production wheels (and others) as he was replacing the leather on my Canadian wheel's flyer. I felt like I had an entire education in one day. After replacing the leather bearings, he performed other bits of magic on my wheel - a little shimming here, a bang with a rubber mallet there, a couple of nails where they were needed. My footman rod was on upside down, and I didn't even know it! Hey, it was like that when I got the wheel. (He also straightened the rod, and reshaped the top part of it.) The wheel is now a lot sturdier and smoother. It spins like a new wheel, and I'm even more in love with it!

Here's the flyer, with its new bearings - much happier now!

I had also brought along the bat's head to my great wheel, to try to find a Miner's head that would work with it. Here it is!

I've got the Miner's head on the wheel and adjusted. Now I need to figure out what wool prep will work with this. The roving I tried this morning just didn't draft smoothly enough. I may try hand-carded rolags next. Prep is all-important with a great wheel, as you just don't have two hands free to manipulate the wool.

Our visit with the Pauls will be remembered for quite some time. They are very good people, and wonderfully talented to boot. His reproduction Canadian wheels are just as lovely and special as the originals, too. If only I had room... And there was one antique wheel with doubled uprights shaped like an upside-down "U" that really caught my eye! Can't remember if it was complete, but the uprights were gorgeous; what stands out is that someone at some point had replaced the treadle with a (shudder) plywood one. I'm sure Mr. Paul will be working his magic on that one at some point, and it will happily come back to life.


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