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Inheriting a 200-year-old Garnås family spinning wheel from my Grandmother, Stella (Bårdsgård) Nelson, was exhilarating. Having myself been an avid handspinner for years, I could visualize what the assembled spinning wheel would look like from the cardboard box full of blue colored parts.
The three-legged Saxon spinning wheel is a double-drive type that can be easily disassembled, transported and reassembled. While reassembling the wheel, I discovered that "OSSB" had been pressed into each individual piece of wood.
I visited the Hallingdal Folkemuseum in Nes, Norway last summer hoping to determine what the "OSSB" represented. A staff researcher found that the initials belonged to Ola Syverson Breie, a carpenter in Ål i Hallingdal that built wheels. According to the Ål Bygde Soge, a district history book, the spinning wheel was constructed in the late 1700's or early 1800's.
In 1833, my Great-Great-Great-Grandparents, Bjørn Olson Sata and Sidsel Nielsdatter Nubgarden most likely moved the spinning wheel from their farm in Ål to the Gårnas farm near Nes i Hallingdal. They lived on the Garnås farm for 20 years until they immigrated to America in 1853, where they used Garnås for their last name.
The spinning wheel came to America in Sidsel Nielsdatters Garnås family trunk. The trunk was painted by famous Norwegian rosemalers, Herbrand Sata and his son, Nils Herbrandson Bæra, who were relatives of Bjørn Sata. Across the front are the words "Sidsel Niels Datter Fod (born) 1803 Malet (painted) 1823." This distinctive Hallingdal trunk is owned by my Aunt Glorianne Knox of Mabel, MN.
Sheep to shawl
Until about 1300, yarn was spun on a handheld spindle. The spinning wheel made its European appearance during the 14th century. The Saxon wheel was introduced about 150 years later and became an important part of everyday living in Norway.
The Saxon spinning wheel was built for productivity by enlarging the drive wheel. A normal day's work can yield about 8,000 yards of single ply yarn. The blue paint on the treadle (foot pedal) of my spinning wheel was extremely worn, indicative of years of spinning by my ancestors.
I was fortunate to receive a picture of my Great-Grandmother, Sidsel (Bearson) Bårdsgård plying yarn. Plying is a process of re-spinning two or more yarns together. The yarn can then be used for knitting, crocheting, or weaving. [Read the Rest]