Which Wheel?

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:

14 thoughts on “Which Wheel?

  1. This is the cleverest post! Quite brilliant! I do suggest trying them. I found that because of my right knee problem I couldn’t use the single wheel or the double drive. I found that the Lendrum Original works best for me, and a bonus is that it’s made so that it does not have to be oiled. 😎 Oh, what fun you’ll have! 😎

  2. I bought a wheel perhaps five years ago at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I don’t even recall what model it is (perhaps a Schacht) because I haven’t gotten over the hump of learning to use it. I learned to hand spin, but when it came to plying, I started to think that maybe I preferred buying my yarn and knitting with it to spinning. So there I am. There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the knitting I want to do, do I want to spend some of them spinning?

    1. I understand – so much fiber, so much yarn, so little time. I learned to spin on a spindle and love it. But i only achieve small skeins – the spindle overflows and I have to break it off and start anew. There is probably a guild in your area that you can try. I’m sure there are spinners who would be glad to show you how to use that wheel.

  3. I’m about to take my first spinning class. We’ll be using a drop spindle, which I assume fits into the “slow” category.

  4. Awesome post!! And Curls & Q is (are? lol) right…I’ve seen a lot of Lendrum lovers, so you wouldn’t go wrong with that model either. There were three spinners that had them at the spin in I went to! But if you travel a lot, a more compact wheel might be best. If you can swing it, you can get both!! Can’t wait to see which you choose!

    Until you make your choice, as far as your spindle overflowing (a good problem to have, lol, though annoying while spinning), have you looked up various ways to wind your cop? What’d you come up with? Not that it’s everybody’s cup of tea. But when I want to pack more on, Abby Franquemont’s methods really help me a lot.

    1. Oh will definitely look that up! I do love using my spindle though. I feel like I’m carrying forward an ancient art but adding a modern twist to it. (Pun intended!)

      1. Oh! While you are looking that up, be sure to check out Amelia of Ask the Bellwether too. She talks about cop winding as well. And I’m sure there’s stuff available on rav about it. I think people tend to like the football shape a lot…alternating back and forth with x-crosses and then wrapping around the usual way. I find it helps the singles to grip the spindle better as you wind on.

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