Winsome Timbers by Ken Lennox

May 24, 2015

In the late ‘90s and early-to-mid aughts, a wheelwright named Ken Lennox made some lovely artisan spinning wheels in several styles. In addition to a traditional Saxony and a 30” production wheel, he made an Irish Castle wheel known as the Fiona and a sort of chair wheel called Bonnie.

Recently, there has been some increased interest in the Lennox wheels. I previously blogged about the Fiona Irish Castle wheel in a post called “Castle Wheel or Oil Derrick?,” a reference to the wheel’s height. I subsequently acquired a Bonnie but never blogged about her (hey, I can’t put ALL of them up here!).

But with the recent interest, a reader asked to see more about Bonnie, so your wish, gentle reader, is my command. Here are the Fiona and the Bonnie together.

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Unfortunately, you don’t quite get the perspective, do you? I borrowed a willing gentleman of about 5’11” to pose with the wheels.

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That castle wheel is big! But we’ve been down that road before, so let’s look at the Bonnie:

lennox 03Pretty wheel with the same features as the Fiona, but without the height. Same double-treadles, mounts for the extra whorls, and spindles for the extra bobbins (not installed here). There is a flax distaff, as well, also not shown. According to the original sales description, her features are:

Bonnie – 16″ Traveler Spinning Wheel

Bonnie measures orifice to floor 29 1/2“ and can be made in either double treadle or single treadle. She is equipped with 12 spokes, threading hook, 4 (4oz.) bobbins, flax cup, and 3 whorls with standard ratios: 5.6-1, 6.4-1, 7.3-1, 8.0-1, 8.8-1, 9.5-1. The three additional bobbins are attached to the frame. Scotch tension is featured on all of the Lennox Spinning Wheels. Bonnie is made only of cherry wood.

Some interesting features. Here is the screw-turn disc to tension the drive band. Turn the disk to raise or lower the flyer assembly and tighten or loosen the band.

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The water cup if you are spinning flax:

lennox 07And my personal favorite, because I always lose these or the cats drag them off to play with, a built-in orifice hook:

lennox 06Here are the extra whorls:

lennox 08On the back leg, just under the largest whorl, is the maker’s mark burned into the wood: At last! A wheel maker who signed, dated and NUMBERED his wheels! If you collect antique wheels, you know how frustrating this lack of information can be!

lennox 09The Lennox wheels are no longer available, but a former dealer has kept their information posted for historical reference. You can learn more about the wheels and their styles here. Keep in mind that this is an old page and the wheels shown are not available, so please don’t bombard the shop with requests for wheels!

Overall, it is a very pretty wheel and a fine spinner. I was happy to be able to reunite her with her sister, Fiona!

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Just a Quick One!

May 17, 2015

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is another “summer is coming” project for messy hair.


The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and the color is 13069, which sadly does not do it justice! It is a lovely peapod green and I enjoyed working with it so much, I’m thinking of ordering more for a summer top. The pattern is the headband part of the “Super Bulky Acorn Hat” from Vermont Farmhouse Designs and is available through Ravelry.

Can Summer be Far Behind?

May 9, 2015

The permasnow of February and March finally seems to be a thing of the past, the spring flowers are in bloom, and thoughts turn towards … the beach.

Last year, I found myself wishing for a nice summer headwrap. We’d leave the beach and stop off at the ice cream shop and my hair was going in every direction. I just wanted something small and light to throw on and look halfway neat.

I found my pattern in Kristeen Griffen-Grimes’s book, French Girl Knits Accessories. This is the pattern, Jasmin.

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I had the book before the yarn. I had noted several patterns I liked and thought I would make, but let’s face it. I will never get to knit all the patterns I admire in this lifetime, let alone the next. So, the book was shelved for the moment.

In November, we stopped at Creative Fibers in Windsor, Connecticut, when coming home from the New England Fiber Festival. On that stop, I picked up two skeins of Louise Harding’s Noema in the Cocktail colorway, purely because I liked the colors.

During the snowy February, I was revisiting pattern books and found Jasmin again. Somewhere, my mental database matched up Jasmin to Noema and there you go.

I broke one cardinal rule here: if you want the yarn to pop, use a plain stitch; if you want the pattern to pop, use a plain yarn. The delicate tracery of leaves sort of got lost in all the color.

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An unintended design plus, however, was the subtle self-striping that, with the lace pattern, turned into a zig-zag pattern.


There is no schematic drawing with the pattern, but the shape is a sort of oblong with two long ties on each end.

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There is a nice edge stitch formed mainly with yarnovers.

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And the ties are a little like netting; they are also a series of yarnovers.

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A success, although if I had to do it over again, I would not graft the two sides in the center, just knit from side to side and then pick up stitches along the cast-on for the tie. I’m not proficient in provisional cast-ons so I wrestled with this a bit. It would be easier to just knit it strait across. But whatever the construction technique, the wrap is lightweight and lovely for the summer. And I won’t look quite so messy stopping off for ice cream!

scarf 04