Spinning Wheels for the Beginner
Which Spinning Wheels are Best?
Which spinning wheels are best for the beginner? If you are a new spinner, you may be wondering how to choose. There are so many choices and types that it is confusing. To make the decision worse, each spinner is sure that her wheel is the best. By knowing what you will want to accomplish and how much you have to spend, the choices will be easier to make.
Spinning on an Ashford Traditional
Spinning wheels can cost a lot of money. Some will run well over $800.00. This expense is unnecessary for most beginning spinners. The cost of the wheel will be determined by the company, the type of wheel, the add-ons, and the material the wheel is made from. You can also buy used wheels on the internet. Be careful about these. I bought one used, a Louet S-10, for $100.00 and then had to replace several warped parts. The total cost was as much as a new wheel would have been.
Some companies for a new spinner to consider are:
- Babe's Fiber Garden
All of these companies carry basic, reasonably priced wheels.
Styles of Spinning Wheels
Spinning wheels are classified by how they look.
Great wheels- Probably the one you are thinking of. A huge wheel at one end, the spinner had to walk from one side of the wheel to the other. Also called walking wheels. These are not used much any more except in historic re-enactment.
Saxony wheels -horizontally laid out wheels
Castle wheels- vertically laid out wheels
Norwegian- wheels- which are horizontal on a platform
Modern- more and more manufacturers are creating their own styles of wheel.
To some extent your choices are going to be based on the way you want your wheel to look. It was very hard for me to get used to a Louet, because it did not look like what I expected a spinning wheel to look like. Now, however, I love it.
Ashford is a fantastic company that has been around a long time. The Ashford Traditional is a small, saxony styled wheel. It comes in an unfinished wood, allowing you to finish yourself for optimum savings. It comes in a single or double drive. The wheel currently sells for less than 400.00
Babes Fiber Starter
Babes Fiber Starter is a very inexpensive wheel that is made form pvc pipe. The idea behind it is incredibly simple. Create a wheel that is useful and affordable. Period. This wheel comes as a kit, with a lazy kate, six bobbins and even some riving to get you started. It is lightweight and easy to put together. It is made from industrial grade pvc and can withstand almost anything you can do to it. It is perfect for kids, or taking to shows. Because it is made from pvc it is lightweight, weighing less than 7 lbs. Since it is a bobbin, led system you can't spin really fine yarn on it but it is great for country style, chunky yarns as well as medium weights. It comes in a double or single treadle style and costs less than $200.00.
Baynes wheels are inexpensive, castle type wheels from New Zealand. They are a castle type wheel, available in single or double treadle styles. The wheel is 16" diameter and you can get the wheel in different ratios for different needs. They have a patented flyer that allows you to change the bobbin without removing the driveband. There is a two-year guarantee. Unfinished, the wheels run about $325.00
Kromski Prelude wheels are beautifully crafted in Poland. They are high quality workmanship and beautiful design, carrying a five-year warranty. The Prelude is perfect for the beginning spinner. It is a saxony styled wheel, with an antique look. As spinners have come to expect with Kromski the wheel has many turnings and fine details. The Prelude is about $350.00 unfinished.
Louets are considered modern style wheels. I have a Louet S-10 and, although I struggled with the look of it, I love it. Louet is a company out of Holland that creates some of the most balanced wheels on the market. The wheels are made of solid wood with a single hole which helps to ensure a balanced flywheel. It also comes in single or double treadle. It costs just over $500.00 but if you can afford it this is the one I recommend.
Some Things to Consider
What type of yarn do you want to produce on the wheel? All of the wheels mentioned will produce average to a small bulky style yarn. For bulkier yarns, over 1/4" the ratios will need to be slower. Since you are just learning, plan on needing to make additions to your wheel, or, getting a more advanced wheel later.
Double or single treadle? This is largely a matter of personal taste. Double treadle wheels balance the work evenly between both legs and some people find them less apt to cause strain.
Consider all of the options and what your needs are. Take your time, read up on the individual wheels and make your decision based on what you know about yourself, your needs, and the wheels. Spinning is a relaxing hobby that takes time to master. Give yourself the gift of a quality wheel to learn on.