I wanted not only to follow the wool processes but to do as much of the activity as possible at Armley Mills. Although I can spin I had noticed a great wheel at the museum and wondered about using it to spin up my wool.
Unfortunately the wheel wasn’t in a condition to be used but I was saved by Carl of the Spinners of Aire, a spinning group which meets weekly at Armley Mills on Wednesdays.
Carl Denton had built his own great wheel and readily agreed to teach me how to use it.
You spin from the point, walking backwards whilst drawing out the wool and spinning, then walking forwards to wind on.
Keeping the wheel spinning whilst I walked and drafted was quite hard.
Carl had to help me redraft sections until I got the hang of it and could walk, draft and spin the wheel all at once, not forgetting to breathe.
You can see above why it’s called spinning off the point.
Cracked it! Look how delighted I am. All of my yarn for the weaving was spun on this wheel.
Photography by Charlie Battersby.