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Date Range From
1907
Date Range To
1995
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, VARNISH
Catalogue Number
P20160003008
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1907
Date Range To
1995
Materials
WOOD, METAL, VARNISH
No. Pieces
1
Height
107
Diameter
54.5
Description
WOODEN SPINNING WHEEL COATED WITH RED WOOD VARNISH. THE BOBBIN IS APPROX. 11.5CM IN LENGTH AND APPROX. 9CM IN DIAMETER. THERE IS SOME HANDSPUN, WHITE YARN REMAINING ON THE BOBBIN, IN ADDITION TO A SMALL AMOUNT OF GREEN YARN. THE SPINNING WHEEL IS FULLY ASSEMBLED. ON EITHER SIDE OF THE FLYER THERE ARE 10 METAL HOOKS. ON THE LEFT SIDE ONE OF THE 10 HOOKS IS PARTIALLY BROKEN OFF. ON THE FRONT MAIDEN, A WHITE STRING IS TIED AROUND A FRONT KNOB WITH A METAL WIRE BENT LIKE A HOOK (POSSIBLY TO PULL YARN THROUGH THE METAL ORIFICE ATTACHED TO FLYER). LONG SECTION OF RED YARN LOOPED AROUND THE SPINNING WHEEL (MAY BE DRIVE BAND). TREADLE IS TIED TO THE FOOTMAN WITH A DARK GREY, FLAT STRING THAT IS 5MM IN WIDTH. GOOD CONDITION. TREADLE IS WELL WORN WITH VARNISH WORN OFF AND METAL NAIL HEADS EXPOSED.
Subjects
TEXTILEWORKING T&E
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928, THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. MORRIS ACQUIRED THIS SPINNING WHEEL FROM HER MOTHER AT THE SAME TIME SHE ACQUIRED THE RUG (P20160003006-GA). SHE EXPLAINS: “I ASKED HER IF I COULD USE THE SPINNING WHEEL – SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPIN. AND SHE ALSO TAUGHT ME HOW TO WEAVE, ACTUALLY MY GRANDMOTHER DID THAT MORE SO THAN MY MOTHER. AND I BELONG TO THE WEAVERS’ GUILD, SO I THOUGHT THAT I BETTER DO SOME SPINNING. AND I DID SOME, SO THAT’S WHY I’VE GOT IT HERE AND MOTHER SAID NOT TO BOTHER BRINGING IT BECAUSE SHE WASN’T GOING TO DO ANYMORE SPINNING. SHE HAD LOTS AND LOTS OF YARN THAT SHE DID. SO IT’S BEEN SITTING HERE; IT WAS IN THE BASEMENT.” THE WHEEL WAS MADE FOR ELIZABETH KONKIN WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. MORRIS EXPLAINED THAT: “… [THE SPINNING WHEEL] WAS MADE ESPECIALLY FOR HER. SHE WAS VERY YOUNG. AND THAT IS THE CADILLAC OF SPINNING WHEELS… BECAUSE SHE KNEW WHO THE SPINNERS WERE, WHO THE SPINNING WHEEL CARPENTERS WERE. AND THERE WAS ONE PARTICULAR MAN AND HER MOTHER SAID, ‘WE’LL GO TO THAT ONE.’ AND THEN IN TURN, IN PAYMENT, SHE WOVE HIM ENOUGH MATERIAL TO MAKE A SUIT – A LINEN ONE… [T]HEY DIDN’T LIVE IN CASTELLAR, THEY LIVED IN ANOTHER PLACE. IT’S CALLED - IN RUSSIAN IT IS CALLED OOTISCHENIA. IT’S WHERE THE BIG – ONE OF THE BIG DAMS IS. IF YOU EVER GO ON THAT ROAD, THERE’LL BE DAMS – I THINK ABOUT 3 HUGE ONES… NEAR CASTELLAR, YEAH.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE TIME THE WHEEL WAS BUILT FOR HER MOTHER, MORRIS ANSWERED: “… [S]HE GOT IT LONG BEFORE [HER MARRIAGE].” SHE EXPLAINED THAT PRIOR TO MARRYING, GIRLS WOULD PUT TOGETHER TROUSSEAUS “AND THEY MAKE ALL KINDS OF FANCY THINGS WHICH THEY NEVER USE.” MORRIS RECALLS THE SPINNING WHEEL BEING USED WITHIN HER FAMILY’S HOME IN SHOULDICE AND IN THE LEAN-TO AREA IN THEIR HOME AT VAUXHALL: ‘WELL I THINK [THE SKILL IS] IN THE GENES ACTUALLY. BECAUSE MOST FAMILIES WOVE, AND THEY CERTAINLY SPUN, AS FAR AS I REMEMBER. I KNOW EVERY FALL THE LOOM WOULD COME OUT AND WE WERE LIVING WITH MY GRANDPARENTS ON MY DAD’S [SIDE]. WE LIVED UPSTAIRS, AND EVERY WINTER THEY’D HAUL THAT HUGE LOOM INTO THE BATHHOUSE – THE STEAM BATHHOUSE – BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ROOM ANYWHERE ELSE. AND THEY – THE LADIES SET IT UP AND IN THE SUMMERTIME. THEY TORE THE RAGS FOR THE RUGS, OR SPUN THEM. [FOR] WHATEVER THEY WERE GOING TO MAKE. MY MOM WAS SPINNING WHEN I WAS OLD. [S]HE USED MAKE MITTENS AND SOCKS FOR THE KIDS FOR MY CHILDREN AND SO WHEN SHE DIED THERE WAS A WHOLE STACK OF THESE MITTENS AND SOCKS AND I’VE BEEN GIVING IT TO MY GRAND[KIDS AND] MY GREAT GRANDKIDS” MORRIS ALSO USED THIS SPINNING WHEEL MANY TIMES HERSELF. SHE SAID, “IT WAS VERY EASY TO SPIN AND WHEN YOU TRY SOMEBODY ELSE’S SPINNING WHEEL YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE RIGHT AWAY. IT’S LIKE DRIVING A CADILLAC AND THEN DRIVING AN OLD FORD. IT’S JUST, IT’S SMOOTH. OUR SON, I TOLD YOU HE WAS VERY CLEVER, HE TRIED SPINNING AND HE SAID IT WAS JUST A VERY, VERY GOOD SPINNING WHEEL. WHEN I WAS IN THE GUILD I TRIED DOING [WHAT] MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPIN FINE THREAD AND I WANTED HEAVY THREAD BECAUSE NOW [THEY'RE] MAKING THESE WALL HANGINGS. THEY USE THREAD AS THICK AS TWO FINGERS SO I DID THAT AND I DYED IT. I WENT OUT AND CREATED MY OWN DYES. THAT WAS FUN AND THEN I HAVE A SAMPLER OF ALL THE DYES I MADE… I STOPPED SPINNING SHORTLY BEFORE I STOPPED WEAVING… I LOVED WEAVING. FIRST OF ALL I LEARNED HOW TO EMBROIDER. I LIKED THAT THEN I LEARNED HOW CROCHET, I LIKED THAT. THEN I LEARNED HOW TO KNIT AND THAT WAS TOPS. THEN ONE DAY I WAS VISITING MY FRIEND, FRANCES, AND SHE WAS GOING TO THE BOWMAN AND I SAID, 'WHERE ARE YOU GOING?' SHE SAID 'I’M GOING THERE TO WEAVE.' I SAID, 'I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD WEAVE?' SHE SAID, 'OH YES,' AND I SAID ‘IS IT HARD?' SHE SAID, ‘NO,” SO I WENT THERE AND I SAW THE THINGS SHE WOVE. THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL AND SO I JOINED THE GROUP AND THEN OF COURSE I WANTED TO HAVE SOME OF THE STUFF I HAD SPUN MYSELF AND DYED MYSELF AND NOBODY ELSE WANTED. THEN I DECIDED, ‘ALRIGHT, I’VE WOVEN ALL THESE THINGS, WOVE MYSELF A SUIT, LONG SKIRT YOU NAME IT. PLACE MATS GALORE. THIS LITTLE RUNNER,’ AND I THOUGHT, ‘WELL, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THE REST BECAUSE NOBODY WANTS HOMESPUN STUFF. THEY WANT TO GO TO WALMART OR SOME PLACE AND BUY SOMETHING READYMADE,’ SO I GAVE UP SPINNING AND WEAVING… I STOPPED AFTER I MADE MY SUIT. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO, EASILY.” MORRIS’ MOTHER WOULD WEAVE IN SHOULDICE, BUT “[I]N VAUXHALL, NO, SHE WASN’T [WEAVING]. SHE DIDN’T HAVE A LOOM.” MORRIS SAID IN SHOULDICE, “I LEARNED HOW TO THROW THE SHUTTLE BACK AND FORTH TO WEAVE RUGS BECAUSE I USED TO SIT THERE WATCHING MY GRANDMOTHER AND SHE LET ME DO THAT, AND THEN YOU SEE WHEN I GOT SO INTERESTED IN WEAVING THAT I BOUGHT A LOOM, SITTING DOWN IN THE BASEMENT. I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SELL IT EVER SINCE AND NOBODY WANTS IT. I OFFERED TO GIVE IT FOR FREE AND NOBODY WANTS IT BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE SPACE FOR IT.” PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003008
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail