So, I bought a spinning wheel.
Not just any wheel mind you, but a giant one.
Of course, the purchase of such a piece of history necessitated some research. This is what I've found.
This particular type of wheel is called a Great Wheel, or more commonly a Walking Wheel. This is because the spinner has to stand while using it. It has a few parts that need to be replaced or fixed. There are no hallmarks to hint at it's age. For all I know it could have been made in the 80's by some carpenter who liked old things as much as I do. There are plans available to make them. I know it was sitting in this lady's antique shop for at least 4 years before I came along.
The other thing this purchase necessitated was all the extra things to go along with spinning. I bought some wool roving (wool that is already prepared to spin) that was dyed a dark aqua. I also bought some creamy white bamboo fibers to blend with the wool.
I bought carders. These are kind of like giant slicker brushes (those pet brushes with the bent bristles). You're supposed to brush the fibers with them so that all the fibers lay the same direction to make them easy to spin.
One thing the wheel was missing, and probably the easiest thing to replace, was the drive band. This is the band that goes around the wheel and the spindle to make everything spin in unison. I bought one online and quickly realized it's just a big piece of cotton crochet thread. Next time I'll just buy a spool of the stuff from my local craft store. I jerry-rigged (sp?) a drive band for it while I was waiting for the one I ordered and spun some yarn. I definitely need to practice more.
I also joined a spinning forum online. It's called Spin-off. The people there have been so helpful so far.
I guess that's all for now. Back to work.