Good morning, and happy Saturday! It’s been a busy week for me, and there’s lots of fun and exciting things that I’ll get to tell you about soon. Right now, I’m grateful for some quiet time this morning because it’s going to be a busy weekend too. I’ve got a spinning class to teach later today, and a guild meeting tomorrow where I will be giving a presentation on blending colors and fiber types with a drum carder. Whatever spare time I have later today will be spent preparing for that. At some point this weekend, I need to make time for my regular household duties too, at least until someone invents grass that never needs mowing.
One of the tasks I accomplished this week is replacing the leather bearing on the little Cardarelle spinning wheel I recently acquired. The original bearing was already starting to come apart when I got the wheel, and when I returned home from the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat, had completely separated. I bought an inexpensive strip of leather from the craft store, the thickest and stiffest they had, but even layering them and bonding them together was not enough. A friend had suggested finding a shoe repair or tack shop and getting a piece of thick hardened leather. Not knowing where the nearest tack shop is, I figured I’d try the shoe repair shop route first, and Colonie Shoe Repair on Central Avenue is practically walking distance from my neighborhood.
With the old bearing and the flyer and bobbin from my wheel in my bag, I decided to stop in and see if they could help. When I arrived, I met Anna Conte who, along with her husband Alberico, have owned and run the shop since 1967. I explained my project to Anna and showed her the old leather bearing. She found a piece of hardened sole leather of exactly the right thickness and even traced a rough outline of my existing bearing, cut it out, and provided me with a strip of special sandpaper to smooth the rough edges of the leather.
Grateful for all her help and expert advice, I gladly paid up and rushed home to work on finishing up the new leather bearing. A razor blade proved necessary to further carve the hardened leather to the proper size, and the strip of sandpaper I was given made refining the shape an easy task. It didn’t take long, and after drilling a hole for the flyer’s orifice, the new bearing was a perfect fit!
There was just one more little bit of maintenance I needed to do on the Cardarelle. At the retreat I noticed a noise coming from the treadle that sounded almost like quacking. We narrowed it down to the leather tie that connected the treadle to the footman. The original leather tie was stiff and old and oiling the leather, specifically the knot, seemed to remedy the quacking but only temporarily. It took some digging around, but I finally found a piece of leather cord leftover from some medieval style shirts I made some time ago.
With my maintenance complete, I sat down to spin just a little more practice fiber and give everything one final check. The flyer was spinning so smoothly in the new bearing with no wobbling at all. The treadling was smooth and delightfully quiet. The little Cardarelle wheel that had been neglected for years before I acquired it was finally working just about as perfectly as it possibly could and I was extremely pleased.
Everything was going beautifully, and then I heard and felt something snap. The tip of the treadle that connects to the footman had broken, and suddenly nothing was going at all. I think I might have invented a few new curse words at this point.
The treadle is a thin piece of veneered wood and apparently, like the yarn that was on the bobbins when the wheel came home with me, extremely brittle. When I researched the wheel after I acquired it, I wasn’t sure if the treadle was original or not. It’s completely different than what I know later Cardarelle wheels, as well as the Clemes and Clemes Traditional, were made with. It does appear to be the same age and finish as the rest of the wheel, so if it isn’t original, it’s at least been there for a good long time.
So now there’s another bit of maintenance/repair that I’ll need to perform. I think I’ll reach out to the folks at Clemes and Clemes to find out if a treadle from the current Traditional model might be able to be fitted to my wheel. It would take some work, but I think I can finish it to match the rest of the wheel. In the meantime, just to get myself back up and running, I used some glue, thin strips of wood for splints, and a bit of black duct tape to patch everything back together. That was last night, and this morning, I’m going to take it on yet another test run to see how everything is going, and if everything seems to be going well again, I’ve got an inaugural project in mind that I’d like to get started on.
I’ll save the details of that for another post. Until then, have a great weekend and happy spinning!