CHOOSING YOUR WHEEL, AND LEARNING HOW TO SPIN
What is the correct wheel for me?
Spinning can be extremely relaxing and satisfying, and even beginners can create lovely yarns. With a bit of practice, you can emulate many styles of commercial yarn, or create yarn that is totally unique to use in weaving or knitting or crocheting.
For many people, the best choice is to buy what they can afford, in a style that is attractive to them. You are only a beginner for a very short time, so it may be more economical in the long run not to buy what you would consider a "beginner wheel" if you can afford a little more versatile wheel, especially if you think you will be spinning a number of hours each week. Most people have factory made wheels, and love them. If you think your spinning will be limited to a very little time each week, a budget-priced wheel is a good choice. We only sell brands of wheels that we trust and have faith in, and beginners to advanced spinners are happy with the brands we offer.
You can choose from a low-end factory-made wheel manufactured with a particle board drive wheel, or choose a middle-of-the-road Ashford, or move up to a beautifully engineered Schacht-Reeves wheel or a hand made wheel like a Jensen, right from the start. (Of course, the hand made wheels are much more expensive, and often have a long wait for delivery.) You should also consider how portable you want your wheel to be. Generally Saxony style wheels take up more room, are harder to transport, and don't fare too well if hauled in and out of your vehicle a lot. While folding wheels are nice, most uprights, folding or not, are small enough to be seat-belted into your vehicle without any disassembly, whereas most saxony wheels are better suited to be left at home.
Considerations for the type of yarn you primarily want to spin - the thickness of the yarn
Most wheels are designed to spin fine to medium thickness yarns, which can be plied (doubled, in most cases) on the same wheel. This creates a yarn not much thicker than a heavy worsted, or thinner. If you want to spin a really thick yarn, we recommend an Ashford Country Spinner, which has a very large orifice. It is, however, not the best choice if you want to spin finer yarns. Typically, fine yarn takes much more treadling than coarse yarn to hold it together. So, an easy to treadle wheel is really important to most spinners. In our opinion, you can't expect one wheel to do every thickness of yarn, so choose the one that will suit you the best. An analogy is if you have a compact pick-up truck, you are not going to pull the same load weight as with a semi.
FOR LINKS TO THE VARIOUS BRANDS OF WHEELS PICTURED ON THIS PAGE,
PLEASE VISIT OUR MAIN SPINNING WHEELS PAGE
TOOLS AND LEARNING AIDS
Books and DVDS
Books and DVDs are an excellent way to get started, and to perfect your spinning, especially if you do not have an experienced instructor. Best DVD for beginners: Spinning Wool - Basics & Beyond. Best books for beginners: Hands on Spinning and Ashford Book of Spinning.
Tools and Accessories
Indispensable tools for spinners - a niddy noddy or skeinwinder, a ballwinder, and at some point, an umbrella swift. Although some of these items seem expensive, they are so useful in handling yarn when spinning, weaving, or knitting, that I truly don't know how people can get along without them.
What about wool?
It's easiest for beginners to learn by spinning prewashed, pre-carded sheeps' wool roving at the start. Roving is a strip of carded wool or other spinning fibers, often a blend, which is easy to draft (prepare to spin). If you have access to spinning batts, they are carded, and spin much like roving. On the other hand, there is a preparation called "top" which looks like roving, is combed rather than carded, and is much more difficult for beginners to draft, so if you are learning without a mentor, make sure you try roving or batts first. These types of ready to spin wool are sold by weight, often by the pound, and are often available from local spinner/shepherds who raise their own sheep, angora goats, rabbits, or llamas/alpacas, and make a supreme effort to offer you the best. Take note that sheep wool is easier to use when starting out than more exotic fibers, and is more economical, when you possibly will waste a bit. Once you are proficient, good quality prepared roving, batts, or top have no waste, so one pound of unspun wool gives you one pound of yarn. The amount of yardage you end up with will depend on the thickness you spin.
AS A STARTING POINT IN SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT WHEEL FOR YOU,
PLEASE USE THIS LINK, AS WELL AS THE DROP-DOWN MENUS BELOW.
ALL SPINNING WHEELS
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This page last updated: 25 March 2016