I have a quandary. A few months after I started knitting, I went to an estate sale down the street from my house. The old woman who lived there had been moved by her children into a nursing home and all of her belongings were being sold, as was the house in which she had, with her husband, raised her five (five!) boys. I never imagined any of the houses on my street could hold anything rightfully called an “estate” sale, but I popped in anyway, just to see what they had.
The house was a massive old four or five bedroom Victorian with a large finished attic and basement but most of what it contained was typical old-lady tag-sale junk. The sort of stuff that accumulates because your house is big and empty and you don’t really have the energy or heart to throw things out. Old flatware and other kitchen stuff. A bread machine, still new in the box. An old junky desk. A black telephone like the one in The Matrix. Tattered books. Most of anything of value had been claimed by her children and carted off to sell in consignment shops, but what really caught my eye was the enormous spinning wheel in the front window. (She also had a tiny old trundle wheel the estate salers were calling a “flax wheel” but since I was really, really, ignorant of wheels at that time, it didn’t resonate with me the way the “wool wheel” did.)
I fell in love. I had to have it. I figured that I could transfer it right to the front window of my condo, right in the living room. Sure it was big, but not THAT big. And, I could learn how to spin with it, so it wouldn’t be sitting idle. It was a win-win-win situation. I talked my husband into it. I negotiated with the estate salers. A price was agreed upon and I walked out of the house with the “wool wheel”.
(I should note here that at some point between her house and my house, a nail slipped out of the wheel and it suffered some very minor damage. The binder clip is holding a small part of it in place so it’s not damaged any further, but it’s definitely fixable.)
My first mistake became immediately apparent when we attempted to set it up in my living room. I either vastly underestimated the size of the wheel or grossly overestimated the size of my living room. It took up nearly the entire wall! To say that the wheel is too big for its intended space is a definite misunderestimation.
Then I realized my second mistake. My oldest son, who was around three years old at the time, is fascinated by mechanical artifacts. I was trying, rather unsuccessfully, to run interference between him and the wheel as I stood deciding whether a sofa was really “necessary” to our living room arrangement. But the temptation for him to test the various speeds and directions offered by such a set up so near his toys was simply too great.
With great sadness, I finally understood that this wheel at this time in this place would simply not work.
We disassembled it and tucked the pieces into various corners of our condo for storage where it has haunted me for three years. I want to keep it, but I’m not sure how that’s possible. We hope to move but there is no guarantee that there will be a place for it in the (as yet unknown) new house. And as long as there are small children here, I’m not sure this would be a safe place for it. I believe that with a little bit of TLC, the wheel can be used to spin, although I’m not sure what exactly that would entail, but it does have the all-important spindle.) And I’m not sure learning to spin on a Great Wheel is the way to go anyway. I’ve considered putting it up on Craig’s list or eBay. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling it out of the back of my van at the CT Sheep and Wool festival. I spoke with David of The Merlin Tree a couple of times, but never followed through on anything we discussed.
So I ask you, dear readers of the Interrupted, what should I do? Is there anyone out there who would be interested in a wheel like this? Should I keep it? Should I sell it on eBay or Craig’s list? What to do?