Which Wheel?

by Verónica

Having succumbed to the joy of hand spinning, I figured it was time to seriously investigate getting a wheel. I received wonderful advice from experienced spinners I have met in person or through the online knitter-blogger world. I also researched various brands and read many articles on what to look for in a spinning wheel. It isn’t as simple as I had hoped.

I’ve boiled it down to the following considerations.

Traditional vs. Modern

This is largely a matter of personal preference.

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Portability vs. Floor Space

This is also a function of your own lifestyle. Do you plan to take your wheel with you when you travel or will you use your wheel primarily at home? And do you have room for it?

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Spinning Ratios

This one is a bit more technical. Here’s my take on ratios.

This is largely influenced by the kind of fiber and weight of yarn you want to spin. Will you be spinning finer yarns with fibers requiring a lot of twist or heartier fibers that require less twist? Another way to think about it is do you prefer to spin thread-like, lace weight yarn or the chunky, super bulky kind? Ratios range from 1 to 20 (simplified version). Note that there is an inverse relationship between spinning wheel ratios and yarn weights. Ideally, a wheel with the broadest range of ratios is best.

{image source: yarn weights}

Foot Pedals

The best recommendation I have received on single vs. double treadle (foot pedals) is to simply try a few wheels and choose whichever you feel the most comfortable using. I am leaning toward the double treadle. From my research, I have gleaned that a double treadle is less tiring on your legs.

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Brands

There are many more spinning wheel makers out there than I ever imagined. The good news is that there is a lot of craftsmanship that goes into making them. Here are some of the wheels recommended by fellow spinners.

{image source: Majacraft, Fricke, Ashford, Lendrum, Schacht}

Costs also vary considerably. Generally, prices range from $339 to $1350.

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Happy Spinning!

With all the choices out there, and spinners willing to share their knowledge, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these wheels.

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References

Besides input from many individuals, these articles were helpful and offer far more technical advice in choosing a wheel: