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 Spinning Wheels
 Kromski? Ashford? Babe? Need first wheel help.
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  2:34:18 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've decided it's time for a real wheel. Spindles are fun, but so slow. When there are so may fibers I want to try, I need to go faster. I understand the basics of spinning, drafting, very little about the technial. I understand what a ratio means, but I don't understand how that will translate to the fiber. I think that knowledge will come with practice. My concern is getting a good wheel that will perform well, and hopefully last a long time. I'm also pretty sure I want a double treadle. But that's not set in stone.

My first choice was the Babe fiber Expression production wheel. Basic, it works, looks easy to use, and it's way cheap! $220 for a working wheel didn't seem to bad. But it's ugly! I'd feel like I would have to hide it when not in use.

Second choice, Ashford Kiwi. Only slightly more expensive, can probably still swing the cost, it's made of wood so I'm hoping it would lastlonger. I know Ashford is a good name in all things spinning, but I don't know much about the kiwi. And it's still ugly.

That led me to choice #3. I found the Kromski Minstrel (or Mazurka) I've not heard much about these wheels.

Does anyone have a good recommendation for a first (and probably only ) spinning wheel? I want to keep it around or under $400, unfinished doesn't bother me. Suggetions?

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cpknits
Chatty Knitter

USA
300 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  2:53:22 PM  Show Profile Send cpknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Do you have anyplace nearby where you can take lessons/try out different wheels (maybe a local spinning guild or yarn/fiber shop?)An acquaintance recommended this (tried 8 mfgrs.) because she found that she had definite dislikes and likes for each of the wheels. This is my plan anyway. good luck!

Carol, Wisconsin
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  3:34:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My advice, FWIW, would be to try out as many different wheels as you can to see which one really suits you best. These don't need to be ones in shops, go to guilds or friend's and try their's out. If you can't then you can't.

Next thing, is there a reason you couldn't get a wheel secondhand? You could get a better quality wheel at a price closer to what you are looking at - if you are willing to wait! You belong to Ravelry - haunt the forums dealing with particular wheel brands (don't forget Majacraft!!) as they usually have "in search of/for sale" threads there where you could post. Craigslist is another place you could look.

Thirdly, many serious spindlers would take issue with the speed factor of spindles v wheel because of the portability factor of spindles. Because you can take them anywhere, in theory it is possible to crank out quite a decent output if you spin at any given opportunity throughout the day!

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
162 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  3:37:21 PM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,
I have a Majacraft Rose,which I find does everything I want.
When I was choosing a wheel I didn't have the luxury of trying out a range of wheels first,there are no suppliers in this part of France. So I read as much as I could about wheels and spinners comments.Most seem to buy one wheel to learn with and then another with faster ratios as they progressed .I wanted one wheel that would cover all levels of spinning and the Rose does this.You can spin from bulky to lace weight yarn,it's easy to set up,needs practically no maintenance and is compact enough to travel with.
I've had mine nearly three years and for me I'm sure I made the right choice.The only draw back, in europe it is a bit pricey,it may be cheaper in the US,but it is well made.
Mary
ps. so pleased the spinners are talking again
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  3:53:42 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The majacraft Rose is about $800+ US.
I should also mention I'm going to our local fiber festival in May and I'm hoping I can pick one up there (possibly used). I know Babe always has a booth there, which is where I first heard of them.

cpknits, I'm not sure if we have any spinning wheel shops here in the Minneapolis area. I've looked, but haven't had much luck finding one. So if anyone local knows of a place that would be great!

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cknits
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
464 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  6:04:48 PM  Show Profile Send cknits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,

There are a few great places to try wheels in the Minneapolis area. I bought my wheel at Detta's Spindle, dettasspindle.net. She carries a huge variety of wheels in her shop. She is very helpful and is located about 30 minutes west of Mpls. I'm fortunate to live nearby, but a visit to her shop/home is well worth the trip and it's a pretty drive!

You could drop into The Fiber Studio, thefiberstudio.com, located in Mpls and try a few of Pam's Louet wheels. She has open spinning every other Sunday afternoon and it's a great place to meet other spinners.

You could also vist the Textile Center in Minneapolis to try a few wheels.

Finally, visit the Minnesota Spinners Group on Ravelry. You'll find other ideas and spinning groups there.

Good luck with your hunt!
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jennybensmom
Chatty Knitter

182 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  6:26:44 PM  Show Profile Send jennybensmom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fricke spinning wheels are the greatest bang for the buck, according to Abby Franquemont.
http://www.fricke-fiber-tools.com/spinningitems.html
http://abbysyarns.com/2008/12/choosing-your-first-spinning-wheel

Abby's blog post about purchasing your first wheel has lots of good advice.

I tried one out, and it was fine, but it was a bit plain-looking. I know it's a tool, but I just didn't feel it would look right next to my gold harp ;-) You would probably feel the same.

If you could save up about another $200, you would have a broader range of wheels to pick from, both in the used and new categories.

Anyway, my DH built me an electic spinner. Here's a link if you'd like to see it:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/21434174@N08/3560517641/in/set-72157605286812849/


Barbara
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  9:36:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I belong to a knitting group where a number of folks have begun spinning in the past year, always starting with spindles. I just the past month 3 have bought wheels, all very gently used and in great shape, and the most epensive was $175. Two were Ashfords, a Traditional and a Traveler, and the third was a Kiwi (that one was $125, I think). Craigslist is a great source of used wheels, and so is Ravelry. Because these are good basic wheels, the value will hold if you decide later on to save more and upgrade to a more expensive wheel.

Buying a wheel new is nice, but being able to afford a wheel soon that fits your budget and your current needs is a great thing too.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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ClimberKnits
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
559 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2010 :  09:42:04 AM  Show Profile Send ClimberKnits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a Majacraft Pioneer. Much cheaper than the Rose. I was set on having a Kiwi too, but fell for the Pioneer at a local fiber show. I didn't know how to spin at all and so "trying one out" wasn't really an option. Besides, there are no wheel dealers of any brand nearby. I saw a Pioneer at the show, it was comparably priced to the Kiwi, and has a few more ratio options. The bug bit me then and there. What really sold me was the article by Abby that was linked in Barbara's post. I've never regretted my Pioneer purchase. It's not at all that "pretty" but the spinning is wonderful. Guess I don't have to look at mine as a piece of furniture.
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2010 :  11:54:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Mazurka is not Kromski's best wheel - but I've had mine for 4 years now and am still using it (alongside better-made and more expensive wheels). It definitely wants some TLC - lots of oil for the leather bearings, grease for the brass sleeves on the drive wheel axle (in order to apply it you need to partially take the wheel apart), a new driveband every now and then... It's NOT a low-maintenance wheel! It also has a pretty marked dead spot (I believe when you can treadle a Mazurka you can treadle anything) and very low inertia, meaning it gets hard to treadle when the brake is tight. I'd never use it for thick yarn, and definitely not for plying thick yarn (spinning might be just about possible). But I love it for angora - it stops faster than any other wheel I have (the low inertia...) It's also easily (one-handedly) portable and very lightweight. And pretty! Great for spinning in public, especially when a traditional flair is desired.

The Minstrel is better made than the Mazurka, I believe. And double treadle and a lot more expensive. A number of spinners around here have one and I haven't heard any negative comments (it would probably still need a lot of oil and grease - that comes with the traditional technology of the older Kromski wheels. Have you seen the Fantasia yet?)

I've never had a chance to try out the other wheels you mention - or the Fricke. Which I would definitely look at, if at all possible, based on Abby's article.

Any chance of finding a used Ashford Traditional? They seem to be rather unpopular nowadays in the U.S. (based on what I've read - or rather not read - here over the last years) and vastly underrated. I think they are fabulous - if assembled correctly (kit wheels don't spin better than they are mounted).

Have fun choosing! Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2010 :  6:08:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mindy, check out the Majacraft Fans forum on Ravelry. NEknitter from Maine is selling a Majacraft Suzie complete with 6 bobbins for $400. I don't really think you could get much better than that!

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2010 :  02:21:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe, pricewise. But I've heard from quite a lot of people that they don't get along with Majacraft wheels at all (never tried one myself), so I don't think it's a good wheel to buy without trying. Of course you could always sell it on...

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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
162 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2010 :  09:53:54 AM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Klara,
I bought my Rose untried, as a beginner spinner and I love it , everything about it is so easy to use and as my spinning improves the wheel has the flexibility to cope.As with everything it's "horses for courses".I couldn't get to grips with a spindle !
Mary
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2010 :  1:33:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kade1301

Maybe, pricewise. But I've heard from quite a lot of people that they don't get along with Majacraft wheels at all (never tried one myself), so I don't think it's a good wheel to buy without trying. Of course you could always sell it on...


I have already encouraged Mindy, in an earlier post, to try as many wheels as she possibly could. I do realise, though, that sometimes this is not possible. I felt that this opportunity was a really good one where Mindy could pick up a very good quality wheel (which, when new, would be about twice the price normally) at a price she has stated that she could afford. You are right, though - if the wheel did not suit her, she could easily resell the wheel as Majacraft wheels are very much sought after.

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2010 :  10:47:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm in agreement with Kathy on this, it's a great deal and Majacrafts hold their value well if a need to resell ever occurs. Klara, you'll find people who dislike every type of wheel out there, and people who love the same wheels. For example, I wouldn't have a Kromski wheel in my house because I've never tried one I like, but I don't tell folks not to consider them. Most wheels available today are wheels that a new spinner will easily learn on, and if price is a factor it's nice to get the most wheel out their for your budget.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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KathyR
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2010 :  6:33:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a moot point point now, anyway. The poster on Ravelry also advertised the wheel a few days later on another forum (also in Ravelry) and the wheel was snapped up almost immediately. The old adage is still true - you snooze, you loose!

Good luck, Mindy, on finding just the right wheel for you at just the right price! Keep looking, it will be out there, but don't forget the secondhand market. There are bargains to be had, at times, of very good wheels.

KathyR

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.
My Blog
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kr_members/ (Roselea Fibres)
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2010 :  2:22:40 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the suggestions and sites. I've been doing a lot of reading. and it no matter where I go a wheel seems to be a very personal choice for everyone. I contacted a local fiber store here and she also recommended going to Detta's. Hopefully I can find time in teh next couple months to run out there and try a few. I won't have enough saved up until May anyway so I have time, but all the suggestions are appreciated. It gives me a place to start anyway.
I would love an Ashford traditional, it's what my aunt has had for the past 25 years so she could help me out with it. But it would need to be used. She cautioned against used wheels just you don't know what condition it's truly in. But I will also consider checking thsoe out.
Our local festival is Mother's Day Weekend, I promised myself I wouldn't buy one before then, perhaps I can buy a used one there.
Thanks everyone!

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La galloise
Chatty Knitter

France
162 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2010 :  3:32:53 PM  Show Profile Send La galloise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hope you find a wheel you like. I've loved every minute of having mine ,even at the begining when my yarn looked like manic spagetti!!
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2010 :  07:05:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It should be easier to find out whether anything's wrong with a used wheel than with a used car ;-) Is your aunt within reach? Then she could explain you hands-on how a wheel is supposed to function (it's not all that difficult, really!) And I believe some dealers also sell used wheels and I'd put more trust in a spinning wheel dealer than into a used car dealer (though I'm quite happy with my car - knock on wood!)

Bye, Klara

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KS
Seriously Hooked

862 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2010 :  1:09:32 PM  Show Profile Send KS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are a lot of good used wheels out there. A lot of Ashford Traditional's. It's a good wheel. I have one that I kept when I bought my Lendrum. I used to know a lot of people who sold their Ashfords when they got a new on & later regretted it.

Can your Aunt give you a few lessons before you buy? Can she spin on it for you? If there's something seriously wrong with it you'd figure it out pretty quickly if you sit down to spin on it. The same goes for any used wheel.

Ashford is good about parts. They have diagrams on their site of all the parts. I wouldn't buy one if the drive wheel is warped.

Good luck with finding the right wheel for you.
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2010 :  11:55:18 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Those are good tips on things to look for. I don't know if my aunt would be able to come with me or not, she lives about 3 hours away. She will definitely let me use hers if I go to ehr house. I just don't get up there often. I just wish I knew of more dealers in our area.

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