I have occasionally mentioned the Barnett Drum Carder in my posts. As a result, I sometimes get enquiries from spinners and fans of the machine around the world who are looking for advice or spare parts. So I’ve dedicated a new page on my blog to the Barnett Drum Carder. David Barnett is my Uncle (my mother’s brother) and although I’m not a spinner (yet!) I am so proud to be part of the family handcrafting tradition. Uncle David made the giant double pins and circular needles which enabled me to start my adventures in Extreme Knitting back in 2012. I am also the proud guardian of the Great Wheel which he made back in the 1970s.
My cousin Libby demonstrating the ‘Long Draw’ method
Here is a picture of me with my Uncle David and Aunt Sonia in Sheffield Botanical Gardens, on the occasion that they visited from Sussex to deliver the Great Wheel.
One day I will learn to spin, as I think that will be a whole new world….but for now I’ll be knitting, with the tools that have passed through my Uncle’s hands, and the collection of knitting needles inherited from my Aunt and Grandmother.
I am now the proud guardian of my Uncle David’s Great Wheel. I spent a lovely afternoon with my Aunt and Uncle, when they delivered the wheel and set it up for me. They also gave me the last ever Barnett Drum Carder, so I’m all set to learn how to spin.
The wheel before assembly
Attaching the spindle
Wheel goes on base
A quick demo
The ‘long draw’ method
The Great Wheel was built in 1979 with my Uncle adding his own design improvements, one of which was the hand-welded circular steel rim. The extra weight makes it turn better. This is the way yarn was spun before someone invented the familiar treadle spinning wheel, so that spinners could sit down and use both hands to work the fleece. So the Great Wheel harks back to ancient times, and even features in Sleeping Beauty, when she ‘pricks her finger on a spindle’!
We all went for a walk in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens before they had to go. It was great to show my relatives that Sheffield isn’t all industrial smog and grime!
As for learning to spin, when o when o when will I be able to do that? Some serious time management is needed. I may have to wait until I retire…until then, I give the Great Wheel a little spin every day.
Till next time,