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 Beginner wheel??
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2014 :  3:39:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's been awhile since there has been a discussion here, so I'm bringing up a periodic topic: suggestions for a spinning wheel for a beginner who must teach herself all about it.

I have been spindling enough now to think I would like to try a basic wheel. I would like suggestions for such a wheel for a person who lives nowhere near any place where she can try it out first and doubts she can find anyone to teach her hands-on.

Is this even possible, with a mail-order wheel and videos/DVDs?

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)

robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1257 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  10:01:57 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey Donna. Great topic, and I think it's totally possible to teach yourself using videos and DVDs. Honestly, the guy who taught me didn't even have the sense to tell me to lighten up the tension; I had to figure it out for myself. That might not mean much to you right now, but it will later.

As far as a wheel, I can recommend a Lendrum. They are not fancy, but workhorse. I got mine because I liked the way it felt to spin on it, but also because the basic package came with so much. For about $700 I got:

The wheel
three regular bobbins
smaller ratio flyer: a flyer with larger whorls, for larger yarns or yarns with less twist
one plying bobbin with flyer:(giant bobbin and flyer for plying large amounts of yarn. I didn't think I'd use this; now it's my new best friend, and I bought an extra plying bobbin, so I have a spare. You have to swap the drive band out to use the plying flyer/bobbin, and it's a little bit of a pain before you get used to it, but now it takes, like, 60 seconds.)
High speed/larger ratio flyer: a flyer with smaller whorls, for smaller yarns or yarns with more twist
Tensioned Lazy Kate: Contraption that holds up to three bobbins for you when you ply. Not all are tensioned. This one is, which is nice.

I really enjoyed the move from spindling to wheel, Donna, and hope you do too. I learned a lot from just muckin' about on my own. I felt like spindling taught me a lot about fiber management, which helped when I started on the wheel; and in turn, when I was spindling the other day after a year-long hiatus, I could tell a huge difference in how I handled the fiber. Much more deftness, control, and speed.

If you need any tips or suggestions, let us know! I'm really excited for you. My first suggestion might be to turn the tension waaaay down until you get the hang of not letting the wheel rip the fiber right out of your hands!

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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azblueskies
Permanent Resident

2390 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  12:10:10 PM  Show Profile Send azblueskies a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My DH got me a Lendrum for Christmas one year and I hadn't even thought about spinning before that (got a spindle AFTER the wheel). Actually, had just started knitting simple scarves a few months earlier. So I taught myself how to spin and then how to knit more than scarves. Did a lot of Googling and experimenting and it was a lot of fun. Go for it...you can definitely learn on your own. Just need the motivation and ability to laugh at the first "yarn" off your wheel..it gets better with practice!!

azblue
------------------------------------------------------------------
Reminder to myself: PROVISIONAL cast on for EVERYTHING except toe-up socks.
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kbshee
Permanent Resident

USA
4165 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  6:29:25 PM  Show Profile Send kbshee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My first wheel was an Ashford Kiwi--they still advertise it as the beginners wheel but it is a bit pricier than it was when I got it. However, I sold it for almost the full cost when I traded up to my Matchless.Similar to the Kiwi is the Schacht Ladybug.

kim in oregon
http://kbshee.blogspot.com
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  8:28:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you all for this encouragement and these tips ... just what I needed! And after the sad mess that was my first spindled yarn, I do understand that MUCH practice will be needed; I am prepared for a major learning curve.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1753 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2014 :  2:53:48 PM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of my wheels is also a Lendrum and I agree that it is a great wheel. Very easy to use and adjust. I'd also recommend getting the plying head. You can squeeze nearly 8 oz of Dk or worsted weight plied yarn onto it. It is so pleasant to knit with a skein that size that has no knots!

Another easy-to-use wheel is Louet. That was my first wheel and I bought it from the instructor of the spinning class I was in. As a raw beginner I had such a hard time with the various wheels that we could use. When I rotated to the Louet, what a difference. I then believed that I could actually spin yarn. Both of these wheels were definitely good purchases.


See My Stuff: Here

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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
162 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2014 :  04:05:27 AM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was like you .I live in rural France there was no place close at hand to try wheels,so I just read all I could on the internet,talked to people on various forums and chose a wheel I like the look of.I picked a Majacraft Rose .I taught myself to spin with it and now years later ,I still love it and it does all I want.Yes it was expensive(more so now)but it has traveled it car boots ,back seats ! done demonstrations,in hot sun and freezing cold and has never put a foot wrong. I didn't get the hang of a spindle until I had been using a wheel for quite some time .
I wish you joy of whichever wheel you choose ,I'm sure you'll love spinning
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2014 :  10:34:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, it's good that I have plenty of room in my home for spinning wheels, in case I turn into one of those spinners I read about who ends up with more than one wheel! As it turns out now, my neighbor is going to make me a spinning wheel! He is a woodworker and already makes knitting needles and shawl pins; he has made me a niddy-noddy and nostepinne, also. He said he's always dreamed of building a spinning wheel, so mine will be his "learning-on" project, now that he has a reason. We are studying plans, reading, researching, etc. And we have the wood available already: black walnut, oak and bois d'arc (that's horse apples, to the unenlightened, a very hard, yellow-colored wood). It will be a single drive, castle type, and he will make several bobbins and perhaps more than one flyer. He said he will make two of them, one for me and one for display in case he has interest from others.

Anyway, it won't be available tomorrow, of course, but he is very excited about this and so am I. He is a wonderful neighbor and very close friends with my husband; they help each other with a lot of farm/homesteading projects.

So now I'll post a NEW question for another topic, but I won't forget these comments in case I, ahem, need a wheel before the handmade one is finished.



Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1753 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2014 :  5:36:20 PM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd be excited at this too. What an opportunity to design a wheel that not many spinners ever have. Have fun with this project and keep us updated with progress.

As far as more than one wheel, well I have four and do use them all. Different things on different wheels, sort of like knitters (me too) who have multiple projects on multiple needles at the same time. I do know someone who has over 20 wheels, some collectible vs. the ones she uses, but still that's quite a collection.


See My Stuff: Here

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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1257 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2014 :  09:54:24 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, Donna, that's really cool. I hope you both enjoy the process and the results!

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2014 :  08:13:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, a related question (possibly a dumb question, which won't be my first) ... has anyone ever had a problem with a spinning wheel tipping over? When I look at different designs, I wonder if the castle-type is top heavy, and if the Saxony type is heavy on the wheel end? Also, some have a distaff for holding fiber ... do spinners use those nowadays?

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1257 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2014 :  09:48:46 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never had a problem with a wheel tipping over, but I've only ever had the one.

And yes, people DO still use distaffs, to spin linen.

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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suebkk
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2014 :  06:34:27 AM  Show Profile Send suebkk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was in the same position as you about 2 years ago. I got online advice from a dealer that carries a number of wheels, and she advised me to look at either an Ashford Joy or a Lendrum. I couldn't try either out, so I chose the Joy based on its looks and portability. I can put it in a hardside suitcase and send it in checked baggage, which was important to me. It was extremely easy to learn with the help of some YouTube videos--I went from spindle to wheel with almost no learning curve. I later purchased a Schacht Matchless, and that took me quite awhile before my spinning was anywhere near as even as it was on the Joy.

Sue
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sheera
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2014 :  06:57:20 AM  Show Profile Send sheera a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A well-balanced wheel will not tip over. I like the upright model because it encourages good posture! (Obviously I'm a beginner. Not a problem when you know what you are doing.)

I'm curious about where you live, because you say you won't be able to find a teacher. You can be as resourceful about finding a teacher as you are about finding a wheel-for example, by contacting your region's spinning guild. I found a teacher at a farmer's market. Also, look for fiber farms in your region; you may be able to set up lessons there. Don't assume there isn't someone to teach you to spin just because your LYS doesn't hold classes.
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2014 :  08:49:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sheera, I live in southern Oklahoma, and there is no such thing as a true LYS closer than Oklahoma City or the Dallas-Fort Worth area (a minimum of 100 miles away); to most folks around here, the "LYS" is Wal-Mart. I don't do extensive driving, either. As far as fiber farms, that's cotton in Oklahoma!

Oh, I know there are undoubtedly some spinners around, but I would rather do it myself, I guess, when I get right down to it. I am not willing/able to drive a couple of hours to get to lessons if I can do it on my own.

Thank you for your comment about the castle-type wheel encouraging good posture ... that's the one I'm leaning toward, really, in the styles my neighbor and I are considering for him to build. He wants to build a Saxony type, because that is what he sees in his mind when he hears the words, "spinning wheel." But he'll make what I want. I see on most modern wheels that the orifice height is usually somewhere in the 25" to 28" range, which is about right for me when sitting in a standard chair. We're trying to look at all angles!

Floor space is not an issue for me right now, as I have plenty of room, but that may not always be the case. I guess I just like the castle-type wheel because it looks as if everything is right there in one place.

I think we also will go with the sliding hook on the flyer, rather than the line of stationary hooks.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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honestabby
Warming Up

85 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2014 :  10:31:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit honestabby's Homepage Send honestabby a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I took spinning lessons from a local shop where I was able to test drive a variety of wheels. I'm glad I did, because I liked the Ashford Kiwi 2 best. So my advice is to attend a fiber fest where there are wheel vendors and try all the products for yourself. Good luck!

My blog: http://bittenbyknittin.com
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2014 :  09:14:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, another question that probably seems dumb ... when starting to spin, one starts the drive wheel with her hand so it goes clockwise (for singles) and starts it going the other way to ply. Is this right? I guess what I'm trying to get my head around is that it IS the big wheel that determines the direction of the twist, and not something done to the flyer that changes this.

Also, can some of you who have used both offer input on preferences for the stationary hooks versus the sliding hooks?

I do get to attend the annual DFW FiberFest about every-other year ... last year is when I got hooked on spindles. But I won't be able to go this year to try out some wheels, as there is a conflict with another event.

Thanks for all the sharing here!

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1257 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2014 :  09:17:48 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Donna, I think the slidey thing on the flyer is great. The Lendrum has a line of stationary hooks and I have a hard time getting my yarn to pile up evenly.

Also, and others can weigh in here, or maybe you and your neighbor have already been reading about this—I believe the tension systems are different on castle versus saxony wheels. I think castles have what's called Scotch tension, and Saxonys have double-drive tension. This is another reason people like to test drive spinning wheels, because some people prefer one type of tension over another. I don't think one is better than the other, they're just different types of adjustments.

Shelia, Shelia, where art thou, Shelia?!

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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susan@beeberrywoods.com
New Pal

11 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2014 :  09:59:45 AM  Show Profile Send susan@beeberrywoods.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would have 2 suggestions: first is to wait until there is a gathering of some sort where the beginner could go, try out wheels, and chat up spinners about what they like and dislike about their wheels.

The second is that I truly love my Louet S10-DT. I have always gotten frustrated with the Scotch tension other wheels use and the less to mess with as far as I'm concerned. The double treadle keeps both my feet going. And I can spin anything from very fine lace-weight - that is still lace-weight when Navajo plied - to worsted weight. The bobbins have good capacity.

Susan in Downeast Maine.

Susan - on MDI
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ikkivan
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
543 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2014 :  12:21:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit ikkivan's Homepage Send ikkivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh my, there is no end to my questions: despite watching numerous online videos (I'm still hoping to watch them ALL), I have not seen (or it did not register if I did) an explanation of why the spinner uses the hooks on one side of the flyer and not the other ... some flyers have hooks on both sides; does it matter which side is used? Once the flyer is in place, is there a "top" or "bottom" side to it?

I will watch one video and focus on ONE thing I'm looking for; then a few days later I find myself watching the same video again to concentrate on something else. Sigh.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
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finnsmydog
New Pal

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2014 :  3:06:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit finnsmydog's Homepage Send finnsmydog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Donna.

Jumping in to second (or is it third or fourth??) the Lendrum as a wheel.

I resisted spinning for a very long time. But, I opened my mouth in front of someone I should not have opened my mouth in front of (I said, "I'm never going to spin" in front of Morgaine from Caroline Homespun) absolutely the wrong person. I actually had a chance to sit in front of a few wheels, as I was at Madrona.

I liked the Lendrum for its simplicity of construction, actually. I was too much of a newbie to know if the wheel spun well from one to the next. It was really important to me to be able to see how the mechanics worked on the wheel, so I can easily assemble, take apart, self-service, etc. I didn't need the wheel to be portable, but I'm SO glad that it is.

I have supplemented my initial purchase with the very fast flyer (I seem to spin "thin", and love to knit lace), and the Jumbo plying bobbin --- and use both regularly.

I love my wheel. I can't recommended more highly --- and I love Maggie Casey's DVD and watch it often to remind me of everything she taught us in class (because I am a lucky duck who got to take a spinning class with her).

I can see, if I am going to do many sweater quantities of yarn, that I could maybe want a Matchless. I have spun a little on that wheel and that is truly a nice wheel and I felt like I could spin more consistently for a longer time on that wheel. I've not jumped in though, and even if I get another wheel, I don't think I will let my Lendrum go.

I have had several people try spinning on my wheel too and I think it's a very intuitive wheel.

Hope that helps.
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