Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Spinning Wheel Finds A New Home

Yesterday, my friend Margie and I drove down to San Diego to hang with our spinning peeps down there.  This is such a great group of women that it is so worth the drive. Sitting around spinning on our wheels, telling stories, sharing projects, planning future workshops (with Judith M.) -- how great that we have these friends to commune with. We always have a vegetarian potluck lunch and we're all such good cooks that every time, it ends up being quite a treat.
Here we have spinach pie, spinach salad with mint and strawberries, yummy fruits, orange, lemon and macadamia nut scones, and to top it off, lentil stew on top of garlic rice.  Not sure it gets too much better than that.  

So, I have a little story. This past week, for some reason I thought I should go onto Craigslist just to look around.  I almost never do this because I have never found anything of interest there. But I typed in "spinning wheel" and to my surprise, up popped an ad for a spinning wheel located 5 minutes from my house. Imagine that!  Okay, so now, what do I do?  Well, of course, I had to go look at it out of curiosity.  Then the next day, I took a friend to look at it a second time.  It had a couple problems that needed fixing.  I need another spinning wheel like I need a hole in the head, but you know, when did "need" ever enter the equation?

But . . . . this wheel was very pretty, made from beautiful wood, and there was an interesting story connected with it.  It kept calling to me.  Well, I guess by this point, it's no surprise, I brought it home with me today.  The problems had been fixed, so . . . .  Here are some pictures and then I'll tell the story about the wheel.

The table was made with a beautiful marled piece of wood -- Oregon myrtlewood, I think -- but it could be a combination of woods.

I think this might be called a Norwegian type wheel with a double table and it has a
22 1/2 inch wheel.  It is a single treadle and works as double drive. 

A view of the back of the wheel with the footman that attaches to the treadle.
The woman from whom I bought this wheel said she bought it from the actual 92-year-old man who made the wheel when she was in Oregon.  She had purchased two of his wheels but couldn't remember his name.  I thought maybe he might have signed the wheel, so we turned the wheel over and it said:

Joe Jorgensen, No. 437.  The other wheel she kept was No. 438.  I was told that she and her husband visited Mr. Jorgensen at his farm in Oregon and bought these two wheels.  He told them that they were the last two wheels he would probably ever make.  She bought them for decorative purposes and never spun on either of them.  There was yarn on the bobbin, and she said that the maker had spun the yarn, showing her how to spin, but she couldn't remember how to do it.  So, it could be possible that I am the second person to spin on this wheel besides Mr. Jorgensen.  She said that the wheels she bought from him were made from Oregon myrtlewood.  She also said that the cotton twine drive band was the original put on by the maker.  

Because it was really soiled and stiff, I put another drive band on the wheel, the same weight cotton twine.  I took off the flyer and the bobbin and cleaned it really well and oiled everything, polished with Howards, and I put some cream on the leathers.  I had success in spinning on the wheel this afternoon.  This was my main concern with buying an older wheel -- I want to spin on it, not just have it for decoration.

I am going to try to do a little research and see if I can learn a little more about Mr. Joe Jorgensen, the wheel maker from Oregon.  It's quite fun to spin on a wheel that has a story and some history to it.  If anyone knows anything about Mr. Jorgensen, who I've learned was from Grants Pass, and his spinning wheels, please email me at  


sdmags said...

That is beautiful! And I had nothing to do with it!

Briana E. said...

Are you on Ravelry?

Briana E. said...

What a silly question, of course you are on Ravelry. I need more coffee this morning. ;-)

Mokihana said...

Thanks, Briana, for directing Lori to our Joe Jorgensen Wheelies group on Ravelry. Lori, you have a prize of a wheel and we look forward to reading your further adventures with it!

Ron & Peggy said...

I have a Jorgensen wheel!! I bought it about 25 years ago when passing through .. I'd heard about a wheel maker near Grants Pass so looked him up. I was a new spinner and still have my Louet but loved the antique look of a brand new hand crafted wheel. Mr. Joe was very helpful and told how he had learned to spin when very young from his mother. He was mechanical so figured how to build a wheel while still a young man. He was upset that some in Oregon had begun to take his plans and build wheels but that they were not the quality he would want. I don't know if he was just protective of this 'babies' or sorry he had mentored the new builder.
I am interested in what you paid for your wheel as I would like to sell mine. Thank you Peggy

bpwin said...

I just got a Joegensen wheel. It looks a lot like yours but the wood is not finished (or maybe it's an oil finish).

Mamasanlee said...

I have a Joe Jorgensen wheel. I didn't know how special it was until I read this blog. my husband bought it from the man who made it back in the 80's. We live near Grants pass and them both being wood workers they met and struck up a conversation. One thing led to another and somehow he ended up buying two of Joe's wheels. The one we still have is myrtlewood.