I went to our local museum to take pics of two old wooden chests for an article, and found this:
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s from the beginning of the 20th century, made by an unknown, very skilled carpenter.
The distaff doesn’t belong to the wheel, but there may well have been one like that at one time. The flat, slightly curved distaffs where more common here, but distaffs formed like a thick staff or baton were also used. You can se some of the flat distaffs in the background:
The museum is closed in winter. It was indeed very cold inside, much warmer outdoors! The windows are covered so the sun won’t harm the textiles, but where temporarily uncovered so I could take pics.
There was also another wheel that was added to the museum’s collection recently. It was made for Beata Mårtensdotter Grind in 1889. This was a more common type of wheel in my municipality, where most spinning wheels were painted blue.
Three new lazy kates have also found their way into this amazing museum.
If you wonder whether I remembered to take photos of the wooden chests I can assure you: yes I did! But I was close to forgetting why I had gone to the museum in the first place.
Today I show more spinning tools from the Ostrobothnian Museum in Vaasa.
First some distaffs. Flax was grown in Finland until the beginning of the 20th century, and linen was used in clothing and as bedlinen until imported cotton became common. The museum showed three types of distaffs: the flat type with carved figures, the flat type with openwork carving or flower painting, and the oblong square or rounded type. Skilfully made distaffs were gifts from young men to their fiancés.
Men could also show their skills in the lazy kates (I’m very fond of the distaff with the portraits, presumably of the young lady and her admirer):
Yarn winders (reels) with a clockwork or counting train needed more skills. They were often made by professionals.
The items displayed here are among the best and most skilfully made. Not all where this elaborately performed.
The wood working tools didn’t know anything about electricity… the museum had made a works space right in connection with the beautiful spinning tools, and some awesome clocks that I can’t show now.
That saw bench looks pretty much like my father’s. He build our house, did all the wood work and much of the other works needed. I remember him standing by the saw bench, doing mysterious things with his tools. I spent much time with him there in the cellar, where he had his work space. My brother has his work space there now for his stunning leather handcraft, amongst other skilled things.
I was in my old home town Vaasa yesterday with hubby. While waiting for him when he did some errands, I went to the Ostrobothnian Museum to see if an old spinning wheel I’d heard of would be on display. It was, but I also saw this one:
Absolutely awesome! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’ve never seen anything like it, except some new wheels that are also resplendently made and painted. The wheel is from the island Björkö in the Baltic Sea.
The light was bad for taking photos (but very good for just looking at the objects), but I still hope you can see the year that’s painted on it: 1854. It’s in very good condition, so must’ve been appreciated also after it’s no longer been used.
The bobbin is dark blue. Hard to say whether it’s original, but it did look as if it belongs to the wheel.
The furniture and the textiles are typical for the island: rich, bright colors, much red, green, blue and yellow.
And here sits the man in the house mending fishing nets amongst all this beauty! The bed is special: in Björkö shelves for plates were built onto the headboards. I didn’t see the reflexion of the glass cabinet facing the bed until I downloaded the photo, but I think you still can see the plates and bowls. The walls are sprinkled with red paint, very decorative and effective.
This is the wheel I went to look for. It also was behind glass, like so many of of the other objects in the museums nowadays, and therefore camera stands usually are forbidden. That makes me a bit grouchy, even if I can understand why I’m not allowed to mess around with sticks.
What you see is an upright wheel from the early 18th century, found in Karijoki in southern Ostrobothnia, now in the museum in Vaasa. The flyer and bobbin assembly is missing, which of course is a pity. This is one of the few old castle wheels there are in Finnish museums. I don’t know if the flax distaff is original, but it’s plausible the wheel once has been equipped with one of the same type.
Next week: distaves, lazy kates, and other goodies! A teaser: this lazy kate is from Toholampi in northern Ostrobothnia.