Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tennessee Mountain Family

Indigenous Housing week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a Tennessee Mountain Family in front of their log cabin. Talk about self reliant folks, they have two spinning wheels and all sorts of other things to allow them to provide for themselves. I wonder what the difference is between the big spinning wheel and the small spinning wheel. 


  1. The smaller one was good for thicker yarns and could go with her on visits and trips, to bees and socials, so her hands could always be busy. The larger one was faster at producing fine yarn. Discussion here:

  2. What's the approximate year of this photo?

  3. the big one is for big socks, the little one is for little socks. Looks like they brought out their most prized valuables to have the photo taken.

  4. I like the shingles, but they don't look hurricane proof. We are ready for the hurricane! I hope.

  5. These people must have been sheep farmers mainly for the wool. They a LOT of wool equipment. The man on the left is standing in front of a ‘carder’ that separates the wool before going to the spinning wheels. In front of the woman in the middle there are wool winders, one horizontal and the other one vertical. Behind the same woman is a Huge wool winder that is held up by the two poles to the left and right of her (I’ve never seen one that big). To the left of the woman in the middle is a rack with three rows of spools for the spun yarn. Nope, I’ve never knitted a thing in my life or spun yarn, but I have been an antique dealer for 30 years.
    Hard to pinpoint a date on that photo but I’m going to take a shot at around 1890 to 1900.

    1. Just as they would have had chickens and a few hogs, many isolated homesteading families of that time would keep a few sheep just to produce some wool and occasional mutton for their own use. They might barter or sell some of the items that they made, but it was basically for their own sustenance.

  6. a wool winder was sometimes called a weasel. There was a mechanism on there and after so many rotations, a counter popped up. And that is where our song Pop goes the Weasel comes from. I have never carded, spun or knitted either but my g.g grandmother had a weasel and my dad renovated it and gave it to the local Historical museum.