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taradactil
Warming Up

56 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2007 :  5:00:42 PM  Show Profile Send taradactil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello all,

I really would like to own a large Saxony-type spinning wheel, but how does one sit at it without twisting their body around? I apologize if this is a silly question, but I only own castle wheels and I've never actually seen anyone use a Saxony. Also, is it true that one can spin greater amounts of yarn faster with a larger drive wheel?

Thank you so much!
Taradactil

RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2007 :  6:11:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One is allowed to move one's chair, if one wishes.

Seriously, how you sit when you spin it personal, so it's best to find the spacing/angle that works for you with as little twisting as possible. You don't have to face the wheel straight on, you can sit at an angle if you like.

As for quantity of yarn, I expect that's individual as well. The size of the drive wheel determines twist that goes into the yarn (well, the size as it's relationship in the ratio) but not neccessarily how quickly an individual spinner packs yarn onto the bobbin. I spin fairly quickly in general, but I don't think I see a difference in my speed between any of my wheels, which are different sizes.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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fiberlicious
Permanent Resident

1637 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2007 :  6:48:20 PM  Show Profile Send fiberlicious a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The best-fitting saxony is one whose orifice is opposite her drafting hand, especially for long-draw spinning. I spin left-handed (right hand forward, left hand holds and drafts the fiber back). I need a mirror-image saxony with the orifice on the right, which would allow me to draft across my body. That way, I don't twist - I just draw my left hand (the one with the fiber) sorta sideways and back, without twisting my body.
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2007 :  6:52:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I spin left-handed too, but my Norwegian and Saxony are both right-handed wheels - I just sit at a slight angle to them if I want to spin long-draw, but have no issues if I'm spinning worsted.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2007 :  01:34:41 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I spin left handed as well, even though I`m a right hander. My Saxony wheel is a right hander and I don`t havbe any trouble sitting at it or spinning into it. It`s a single treadle though and this allows considerably more flexibility as to the angle I sit at it. Also my Frank Herring Saxony has a wide treadle, so there`s room to move my foot into different positions.

I think the big drive wheels are more efficient and less tiring to use over long periods of time, but speed of spinning is entirely up to you...how fast do your hands and feet work?

Val.


http://spinningfishwife.blogspot.com/
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2356 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2007 :  07:13:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think that one of the reasons that folks often say that it is faster on a large saxony wheel has to do more with the ratios and tensioning than just with the fact that it's a saxony wheel. Most of the large (24"-30") saxony wheels have ratios that are much higher than many castle wheels. For example, I have 30" saxonies which range from 12:1 at their slowest to 26:1 at their highest, with fast whorls and bobbins that take it up to 42:1. At these ratios, one can set the tension to take in the singles very fast as well, because the twist is going in at a high rate. The limitation is that the spinner must be able to draft at a speed that works with the twist and tensioning.

So my answer is that yes, the production wheels are faster for me, because I can get singles on the bobbin faster with the amount of twist and diameter that I want. As Val has said, too, I'm doing it more efficiently because I'm not treadling faster, the wheel is adding twist faster.

I hope this makes sense when explained this way. Oh, and I agree that there isn't a need to twist one's body to spin on these wheels - unlike spinning on a castle wheel, you body isn't aligned straight to the wheel, but at whatever angle is comfortable to treadle the wheel, whether it is single or double treadle. There isn't any need to have the singles going into the orifice straight on, so it doesn't matter at what angle your hands are held.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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taradactil
Warming Up

56 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2007 :  05:08:45 AM  Show Profile Send taradactil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much for the advice!! I really appreciate it :)

I've been having a hard time visualizing how to sit at a saxony since I am used to sitting directly across from the orifice on my wheels. Now, to narrow down my choices on a saxony....!

And since you've helped to understand the differences in ratios between the different types of wheels, I know I need to do a lot more practicing to get "up to speed." It took me about 2 weeks to spin approx 4oz, 380 yds, of one-ply laceweight, and though I didn't spin everyday, I still find myself wishing for a wheel that might speed things up, because at this rate, it will be a couple of months before I'm done with this project ;)

Thank you again!
Taradactil
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delicategenius
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2007 :  09:58:49 AM  Show Profile Send delicategenius a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've thought about this topic too, at some length; I'm a leftie who spins leftie. I have a Majacraft Rose (castle wheel) right now, but I'm considering a Kromski Polonaise as a second wheel in the distant future---cuz it's soooo pretty, cuz it could do double-drive, cuz it would be single treadle, cuz it would be more traditional construction, cuz it would be DIFFERENT. :)

Anyway, most old (read: antique) saxony wheels seem to have been single-treadle wheels. Probably that became a standard in part because the ergonomics worked well, dontcha think? To illustrate: I tried the Kromski Symphony AND the Polonaise, and on the Symphony, which is double-treadle, my knees generally faced the wheel so I could use both treadles, while my upper body was slightly angled towards the orifice. However, on the Polonaise, you've got one foot on one treadle, and you can pivot your body more easily and with more versatility from that point. Eh?
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taradactil
Warming Up

56 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2007 :  1:29:32 PM  Show Profile Send taradactil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Delicategenius,

Your description of sitting at the Symphony is EXACTLY how I imagined one would sit at a saxony. So, maybe I should be on the lookout for a single treadle version.

For me, this raises another question...can a saxony be efficiently powered by a single treadle? Do the really big wheels, such as the Schacht 24" and 30" for example (though I do find the Kromskis to be just gorgeous), work well with just one treadle?

Thanks!
Taradactil
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2356 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2007 :  5:46:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have three big wheels, and two of them are single treadle, one is double. I don't find that the single treadle wheels are more tiring to operate, both are very well balanced and don't take all that much effort to treadle. If I want to, I can treadle with either foot, switching off from time to time.

As far as having the ability to pivot your body more easily with a single treadle while maintaining a foot on the treadle, that's probably true, but I'm not sure why I would want to pivot my body around while spinning. What I an looking for with a big production wheel is efficiency, and moving my body is not an efficient way to spin. My arm(s) - yes - but not my body. Of course, you'll want to move from time to time, to adjust the flyer hooks or something, but I don't feel constrained when spinning with the double treadles. All of my wheels don't require a hand to start or stop the wheel, but if that were necessary it can pretty much be done from any angle.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2007 :  1:23:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, I've always thought that with a traditional saxony (flyer to the left of the wheel) you are supposed to have your right foot on the treadle, your left foot somewhere below the orifice and you'd sit more or less facing the flyer. That way it doesn't matter which hand you prefer in front of the other. Now, I can't treadle with my right foot (but I still wanted a Polonaise), so I have the left one on the treadle, sit facing the drive wheel and draft with my left hand forward, which is not my preferred way of drafting (but then, using your "other" hand more is supposed to balance the brain, isn't it?) But I wonder whether most double-treadle wheels aren't built the wrong way round for right-handers...

Who of you is right-handed and doing worsted spinning with the left hand forward? Did it come naturally that way or did you have to make an effort?

In any case I find it strange to call wheels with the flyer on the right "left-handed" - for my understanding they are left-footed (when single treadle) or right-handed (when double-treadle)... But however they are called, I'm very much hoping to get one some day!

Klara



Check out my homepage on spinning (and more) http://www.lahottee.info
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jimbobspins
Gabber Extraordinaire

463 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2007 :  3:15:14 PM  Show Profile Send jimbobspins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am right handed (predominantly) and spin with my left hand forward. Just did it. Didn't have to think about it. Most people I watched seemed to spin with their right hand forward. I felt a bit odd, but didn't really care. Since I was spinning on a castle style wheel (Lendrum), it didn't matter.

Other than some Ashford Traditionals in art school many years ago (all with the flyer on the left), the first Saxony I tried recently was a Lendrum with the flyer on the right. I felt all twisted up after about 10 minutes, so decided that I needed the flyer to be on the left. Which is the way most Saxony wheels are made. After trying a lot of different Saxony wheels, single and double treadle, flyer on the left and right, I found I preferred the flyer to be on the left. So I got the Lendrum double treadle with the flyer on the left, and it is so comfortable. Fits me like a glove. I sit facing the wheel (it is a double treadle) and draft across my lap from left to right. No twisting involved. I do hold may hands at a slightly different angle than on the castle wheel, but I don't find it to be a problem.

Since the majority of Saxony wheels are made with the flyer on the left and the majority of the population is (trained to be) right handed, I guess the assumption could be made that a flyer on the left is for "right-handers" and a flyer on the right is for "left-handers". Unless, of course, the practice of spinning removes us from the whole issue of "handed-ness" in general and we just do what's comfortable by instinct.

I guess it's all about finding your comfort zone. Which is why it is important to try a wheel before you buy it. Especially if you already own a wheel. No point in buying something that you won't like more than the wheels you already own.

Jim
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spindledreams
Warming Up

87 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  08:09:57 AM  Show Profile Send spindledreams a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am mostly right handed spin but spin with my left hand forward. That is the way that has always felt natural to me.

I think you may have hit the nail on the head Jim most of use simply do what feels "right" or comfortable when spinning unless we are unfortunate enough to get an instructor that feels strongly about which hand should be used for what.

dorothy in wyoming
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petiteflower
Chatty Knitter

USA
297 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  3:17:42 PM  Show Profile Send petiteflower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On this handedness subject, it has always been my understanding that what is generally traditionally considered to be right-handed spinning is where you have the fiber supply in your right hand and your left hand is forward for controlling the twist. Yes the left hand is busy, especially when using a short draw technique. But then think of how busy the right hand is also. And with what finesse it must do it's job when using either a short or long draw technique.

(OK folks, I'm correcting this post by pointing out that what follows concerning the great wheel is a big fat mistake on my part, in fact the opposite is how things usually are done, as Val pointed out very diplomatically on her post below.)>>> Spinning at a great (walking) wheel is also traditionally done with the fiber supply in the right hand. You have to be drawing away from the side of the spindle. You are logically going be working on the side of the spindle where the wheel is located so you can reach it when you need to, and on the majority of old walking wheels the wheel is to the right of the spindle. This makes sense for right handers. It would be kind of tricky to keep the yarn to the right side of the spindle while holding the fiber supply in your left hand and be able to make much of a long draw. You would have to cross your left arm in front of your body or else turn your body clockwise away from the spindle. Very awkward. Since walking wheels came before flyer wheels, and most walking wheels have the flyer on the left for ease of right-handed long draw technique, this could be why Saxony flyer wheels most often have the flyer on the left. The long draw technique can be accomplished using the same hands as with the walking wheel.(here is pretty much the end of my damages!)<<<< And with a short draw technique, well, both hands have pretty much equally important jobs, so having the left hand forward doesn't mean that you are necessarily performing a predominantly left-handed task.

I am left handed and I am used to running into tasks that are set up for right handers and having to figure out how I am going to go about it. Take knitting and crocheting for instance. With knitting, I think that both hands are pretty much equally busy and I never have for an instant in 46 years of doing it found a need to have to learn the left handed method. I knit the same as all of the right handers. Not so with crocheting. I have to have that hook in my left hand, and for many years I didn't really hold the hook or the yarn correctly because when my grandmother taught me as a child, I wasn't sharp enough to figure out the maneuvers in mirror image. My stitches were formed correctly but I was not able to develop any speed really, until I finally came across a book that had lefty instructions and I learned how to hold everything properly. Now I can motor along.

With spinning, I started out spinning like it showed me in the instructions that came with my Ashford Traditional. These show holding the fiber supply in the right hand, controlling twist with the left hand forward. This worked out fine for me right off, and I felt no need to alter it for my lefty-ness. Believe me, if spinning were something that had a definite written-in-stone handedness to it, I would have felt it right off. It makes me dizzy just to CONTEMPLATE taking up a pen and writing with my right hand!

So, what I think about handedness with spinning, especially when it comes to short draw, is that it has to do with what you get used to early on. If you start out on a castle style wheel, the wheel itself puts no restrictions on you as far as handedness goes. With a Saxony wheel, you are probably going to be more comfortable spinning with left hand forward on a wheel that has the flyer to the left. To spin with right hand forward using a short draw technique, you would have to cross your arms in front of your body, or else turn your body to the left quite a bit. But, I remember saying that when this right or left flyer topic was being discussed here on this forum over a year ago, and there were several people who replied (piped up emphatically!) that they spin on a left-side flyer with their right hand forward and feel fine about it. So, it's really an individual thing I think.

As far as footedness while spinning at a Saxony, as Klara mentions, the single-treadle Saxonies with the flyer to the left are traditionally treadled with the right foot, but I don't know that it's all that customary to have your body turned toward the flyer while doing so. This would be an awkward position for spinning long draw with the fiber in the right hand. It is perfectly comfortable to be facing the drive wheel while spinning at a Saxony wheel, so you can really treadle with either foot. You can easily reach out to touch the drive wheel when necessary, with whichever hand you prefer. I reach for the wheel with my left hand, finding it rather disruptive to the fiber in my right hand if I have that hand flailing about. I use both feet at the same time while treadling a single treadle wheel, this is how I have to do it to work with my physical limitations. It works wonderfully well for me. I can reach everything just fine even on my big wheels. I am positioned juat about like you would be at a double treadle Saxony wheel.
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  4:24:06 PM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by petiteflower

Spinning at a great (walking) wheel is also traditionally done with the fiber supply in the right hand. You have to be drawing away from the side of the spindle. You are logically going be working on the side of the spindle where the wheel is located so you can reach it when you need to, and on the majority of old walking wheels the wheel is to the right of the spindle. This makes sense for right handers.



Now I`m confused about this, because when I was taught to spin on a great wheel I was told to hold the fibre supply in my left hand, long draw off the point of the spindle at an angle and and then allow it to wrap on at right angles to the spindle, while controlling the drive wheel with my right hand. Is this one of these things that there`s more than one way to skin a cat, or is it a transatlantic varient, or was I taught wrong?

I`m as dominant a right hander as you get, btw, and I spin right hand forwards, left hand holding the fibre when spinning short draw. For long draw I use my left hand and pull the fibre supply out behind me, not across my body. That`s why I fins a single treadle Saxony more comfortable, because with a double treadle I would have to twist my body to get a good length of draw. The ST means I can sit at an angle to the wheel. And of course, that`s why I found spinning long draw on the great wheel perfectly comfortable with my left hand. The single runs very neatly at a good 45` angle from the point if you use your left hand. How can you spin off the point with your right hand?

Val.


http://spinningfishwife.blogspot.com/
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  4:27:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by petiteflower
Spinning at a great (walking) wheel is also traditionally done with the fiber supply in the right hand. You have to be drawing away from the side of the spindle. You are logically going be working on the side of the spindle where the wheel is located so you can reach it when you need to, and on the majority of old walking wheels the wheel is to the right of the spindle.

As usual, a really great answer from petiteflower! I have quoted the above excerpt as it ties in with exactly what I was wondering this morning!

We received some photos today from our daughter who is, at present, living and working in England. She recently visited the Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff, Wales and photographed a great wheel there.

When I looked at it, the spindle appears to be on the right of the wheel(if you were standing in front of the spindle). Has the spindle been placed on the "back" side of the wheel for the safety of the public? Or has the wheel been turned with its "back" towards the public? I thought that traditionally wheels had their spindles on the left so this was a little puzzle!

KathyR
Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
My Blog
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petiteflower
Chatty Knitter

USA
297 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  6:08:30 PM  Show Profile Send petiteflower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear Val, Oh my goodness, yes yes yes you are right, I very much stand corrected on the great wheel thing. I think I was in some kind of opposite land there, and I am going to make some kind of impossible to miss road sign so everyone will know not to go along with me on this. I', sure you will not be the last to point me out on this!!!
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2356 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  6:15:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would have to disagree with the comment about which hand is drafting on a great wheel. The drafting hand is generally the left hand, as Val Scot was taught and Kathy R has observed. The right hand is used to turn the wheel, reverse the wheel, and stop the wheel when needed. There is no need to have the fiber supply coming from "across" the spindle, just that there be a slight angle to the tip of the spindle with the fiber - this is what puts the twist into the singles. If the fiber comes at the spindle at too close to a right angle, which is what would happen if drafting with the right hand, it would wind on or make a "thunking" instead of just adding twist.

Petiteflower may be thinking of a different set-up, but according to the reference books on great, or walking wheels, it is extremely rare to find a wheel set up for the opposite hand. We have to remember that in times past left-handedness was severely discouraged, most left handers were forced to change as children.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2356 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  6:17:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sorry, posting at almost the same minute as Petiteflower! (or just a slow typist, as well)

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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petiteflower
Chatty Knitter

USA
297 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2007 :  6:17:54 PM  Show Profile Send petiteflower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear Val, Oh my goodness, yes yes yes you are right, I very much stand corrected on the great wheel thing. I think I was in some kind of opposite land there, and I am going to make some kind of impossible to miss road sign so everyone will know not to go along with me on this. I'm sure you will not be the last to point me out on this!!! I'm sure there are, as you say, more ways to skin this cat as in all things spinny, but traditionally it is as you described, fiber in right hand, spinning off the tip at a slight angle and then wind on from the side, while controlling the wheel with the right hand. Yes indeed it would be tricky to draw properly from the spindle tip with the right hand!
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2007 :  01:33:46 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lol...well, I`m glad that one got cleared up. I was tying myself in knots here, walking around the room spinning an imaginary great wheel with my left hand and trying to draw with the right. Hubby thought I had finally lost it, lol!

On a positive note though, while I was Googling for info on this, I discovered the Quill attachment for the Ashford spinning wheels which is designed so you can mimic the action of a Great wheel, but treadled of course. Anyone tried one? I very much desire a Great Wheel (or Muckle Wheel as we call them here) but don`t have a spare 600 lying around, alas. 31 for a quill attachment is affordable however.

Val.


http://spinningfishwife.blogspot.com/
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