Monday, May 20, 2013

Selecting A Wheel

If you're contemplating a wheel purchase in the near future, The Woolery has one of the most helpful guides to selecting a wheel that I have come across.

I bought my first wheel secondhand, a Kromski Mazurka.  I actually lucked out, because way back before I even thought about starting to learn to spin I saw this picture online and decided it was my Dream Wheel:

So when I got the opportunity to buy one, I jumped at the chance!  I loved my Mazurka, though I would NOT recommend this wheel for an absolute beginner, just because the tension is very finicky to adjust.  It took me forever to work it out, and I ended up taking off the double drive band and just using it as a single drive, because I could not get the hang of it.

As much as I loved this wheel, it did have a couple of drawbacks: no jumbo flyer, and portability became an issue, since I like to prance about and spin at the coffee shop, friend's houses, or wherever.  So I ended up buying a Kromski Sonata:

Of course I got the jumbo flyer and bobbins, so I could ply up to eight ounces onto a single bobbin, and it folds right up into its own carrier bag to cart around wherever I go!  If I had unlimited cash and space, I would totally have kept my Mazurka as a second wheel, but the versatility of the Sonata made it a much better option for me right now.

Though I still think I am entitled to an Ashford Elizabeth wheel, because ELIZABETH!  It's made for ME!  ;)

Before I decided on the Sonata, I was lucky enough to be able to try out multiple wheels from multiple companies, which I would highly recommend.  I was at SAFF that year, and just went from booth to booth, trying out Kromskis and Ashfords and Schachts to see the best for me on price, portability, style, and how they all actually spun.

I actually learned to spin on a wheel.  I had tried with a drop spindle a couple of times, but trying to keep the spindle going, and draft, and spin, and not drop everything on the ground every two minutes was too much for my teeny brain.  One of the best things I did once I finally got the hang of spinning was to buy a giant bag of Shetland at one of the local fiber festivals--I think it was about a pound and a half, not the best roving in the whole world, but I just sat down and spun and spun and spun and spun until I really had a good handle on how the whole process worked.  It really consolidated things my teacher had showed me, and got the muscle memory good and solid so that I had all the movements and everything down pat.

If I had all the money in the world, I would love to get one of Majacraft's Little Gems:

Or Golding's wheel with the little sheepies on it!!

Or a Jensen, just because it's a freakin' Jensen!  :D

Once you learn to spin, it's totally an addiction, and you need ALL THE ROVING! and ALL THE WHEELS!

I don't have a problem, I can stop any time I want.  ;)

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