Aram! I’m So Glad You’re Here :)

She love to spin

Isn’t she lovely? I think so!

Please welcome my newest wheel – another little piece of Canadian fibre art history. She is marked “Aram Paradis” and was made in Quebec in the latter half of the 1800’s. To make her even more special, we purchased her from her original family. A lovely woman sold her to us, after refusing to sell her to someone the seller suspected was an antique dealer, because we would love her enough!

Bless her. She was right though, you know – I really will love her enough πŸ™‚

The wheel belonged to the seller’s great grandmother, who used to spin on her often – I was even given a small amount of cotton sliver which was, according to the seller, her great grandmother’s and what she would commonly spin on the wheel. This same seller has another wheel (her grandmother’s) which is a Canadian Production Wheel, in perfect pristine condition. If she ever decides to sell it, she’s going to call us. I’ll let you know πŸ™‚

It seems she has been modified to work with a spindle – somewhat like a great wheel. What remained of this modification when we got her was the whorl but no spindle piece. There was a second hole drilled (perfectly, might I add) in her mother of all for the front maiden, to facilitate the modification. She looked like this;

Just a little bit dry

the modification

First off, she needed a coat of blo/turpentine – the poor baby was parched.

What a differenc oil makes

I moved the maiden back to the original hole and made her some new leathers (made from an old full grain leather belt, bonded together for the front maiden to create a sturdy bearing)…

Making new leathers

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For the back leather, I used a single layer of the same belt leather but since it’s a bit on the stiff/thick side, soaked it in water for a couple hours and then clamped it to create a tight bearing…

Clamping the leather for the back maiden

My baby had no flyer/bobbin whatsoever so I had to look around the house for something suitable. Thankfully the other wheels LOVE to share. My first attempt was an old lithuanian flyer that I have. Quite sadly (since this is my only flyer without it’s own wheel), it was too short and had some issues with spinning properly – sort of a dud. Second attempt was to try one of the cpw flyers (a Vezina, in fact). This was too long…

At this point it was very ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and, just like in the story, the third try fit just right πŸ™‚ I ended up fitting ‘Grandpa’s’ flyer to her – a very close to perfect fit. In order for it to be a PERFECT fit would mean finding a flyer with about the same length of arms/bobbin BUT with a longer tail end for the back bearing. Since I didn’t have such a flyer, I added a rabbit skin ‘sleeve’ inside the back bearing, to hold the shorter tail end. Grandpa says he’s happy to have helped πŸ™‚

Rabbit skin sleeve for back bearing

Did I mention her perfect hub?? Really awesome for her age…

No cracks in the hub

She’s stamped but this isn’t the clearest picture…

marked aram paradis

And in her glory – all glowing and spinning!!


We had a few issues as we began spinning together. I don’t blame her really since she’s not used to working after all these years πŸ™‚ Her treadle kept trying to fall out of the leg nearest the spinner on the wheel end – there was an old injury to that leg and a groove there so I used a bit of belt leather and made a split washer which I placed on the other end of the treadle bar, at the leg closest to the mother of all. This keeps the treadle from moving over as far as it wants and falling out on the wheel side. Also looks very appropriate, which I like πŸ™‚

The cross piece that the treadle sits on is so old and brittle with an old staple repair underneath. It did snap shortly into our spinning together BUT I didn’t want to replace it with a new piece of wood.

Cover your eyes now if you are particular about correct repairs! My solution was to fit the shattered old wood back together underneath and then bond the whole thing back together with some 5 minute epoxy. Yes, a woodworking sin. BUT! She looks original and that was what I wanted. If this doesn’t work in the long run I can always replace the cross bar. I wasn’t approaching the project in terms of resale value but from a working/original wheel perspective.

Finally…my little helper has been by πŸ™‚ I’ve convinced him that the winder is ‘his’ wheel…

The little spinner and 'his' wheel

He has, however, gotten older and now he has noticed that ‘his’ wheel doesn’t seem to do it right. LOL. He brought his bobbins over to my wheel to see what was going on last time…

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He really is the cutest little guy πŸ™‚ Plays piano when he’s not spinning….babies are awesome πŸ™‚

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Have a fantastic day!


10 thoughts on “Aram! I’m So Glad You’re Here :)

  1. Your little boy is adorable! And so CUTE! Almost makes me want one. But at my age I’d better stick to my 14-year-old daughter.

    And I just love the wheel and her story is enough to bring tears. The older the better, I say, and to know her history is better beyond words. I know you will enjoy many moments spinning and thinking of the history you are creating.

    • Thanks!! He’s my little grandson though πŸ™‚

      The wheel is working wonderfully — and she’s so cute that I can’t stop looking at her, lol πŸ™‚

  2. I love your antique wheels. Would love to have one someday, but until then, I’m with an ultra modern one, but these are real beauties, and much be fantastic fun to fix up

  3. My mother has one of these Aram Paradis spinning wheels. She bought it back in the late 60s at a local university here in NJ. I haven’t the first clue how to spin, but just the history of the wheel wants me to possibly give it a shot. I’ll try to get a picture up of her wheel soon. Any idea what these are valued at nowadays?
    Thank you.

    • Very nice! Is the wheel complete? It may be hard to tell but that can definitely affect value. Replacement parts can be pricey, if you have to have them made. I’d think, complete and in working condition, these wheels are likely worth something around 250 to 350. It totally depends on market conditions, supply and demand. In some places certain wheels are very rare and therefore might be worth more to the buyer, just based on that. In other places wheels are more plentiful (like in Quebec) and therefore worth a little less. I’m certainly not an authority though, lol. A wheel is worth what the buyer is willing to pay πŸ™‚ I’d love a chance to have a peek, let me know if you post a picture!

      Thanks for commenting and have an excellent day:)

      • Took advantage of the sunny conditions today to showcase her. Just to think this wheel survived through our childhood. I remember as a kid wondering how fast I could spin the wheel with my feet, and then getting my fingers caught in it. My mom said it’s a flax wheel, and she actually had some flax for it. See pictures below:

  4. Hi… I’m Lori, and I found your blog perusing google images for something similar to the (most of a) wheel that I just scored at a Yard Sale/Second Hand Shop. She’s very similar to yours, with differences in the turning of the upright posts that hold the wheel, and the ones that hold the bobbin, I’m not sure if she was modified for the flyer/bobbin setup or not. This is my second wheel, and I only had the first one for a short time a few years ago before I had no place for her and had to re-home her. She came with no legs/treadle/pitman rod. I have pictures of her and close-ups of the important parts on ravelry here:
    As you can see the spokes on the wheel match yours identically, so I’m believing she originates from Canada. I live in Southern Oregon. Have you any idea where I might find parts, or someone who refurbishes wheels in this area? If nothing else, I will take her to Black Sheep Gathering up in Eugene in June. I’m not sure that I have what it takes to dis-assemble and re-furbish her myself. I might feel more confident if she were already whole. Her flyer turns when I crank the wheel manually, so that’s a good thing. If you wouldn’t mind checking her pictures out, and getting back to me, I would appreciate it greatly.

    • Hi Lori πŸ™‚ Just heading out to work but I’ll have a look tonight when I get home. Check out the antique wheels group on Ravelry also – very good resource and lots of excellent people! Lisa

  5. I already posted pics in the ravgroups… and the consensus is that it’s a Paradis… only why would they not mark some and mark others? At any rate, Paradis parts might fit.

  6. hello i just be came the proud caretaker of an aram paradis wheel. i was putting it together and found the flyer didnt have an other side to hold it now i know what to do thanks to you thank you so much. now the fun begins.

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