Members who visited the craft tent at the Portsoy Boat Festival in July 2009 may have seen Norman Kennedy spinning on a great or muckle wheel. Norman is a ballad singer and an expert in the history of textile production. He commissioned the wheel on his previous visit to the UK from his friend Mr Strachan, who makes spinning wheels as a hobby.
The wheel was on loan to Grampian Guild between Norman’s visits, but since the summer it has been on loan to our Guild. Gill Challis is looking after it in her workshop, and has already taken it to a Share and Blether and to the Nairn Spinning Group to give people a chance to try it. She will be taking it to future Share and Blether sessions, particularly when there is a spinning focus – I will put a note on the web site to let you know when.
Any members who would like to have the wheel at a spinning group meeting, should contact Gill, or me if she is not available – we were both trained to use it by the eagle-
To produce yarn on a great wheel you spin from the point as you would on a charkha or a supported spindle, ideally using well made rolags. Once you get the hang of it it’s quite fast. One man who tried the wheel at Portsoy had never spun before, but picked it up very quickly, so do come along and have a go.