What changes from spindle to wheel spinning?

When you're spinning with a spindle, you basically set the spindle twirling and draft fiber out. Once it's at arm's length, you stop, wind the new length of yarn on, and repeat. On your standard modern/flyer spinning wheel, your feet pedal to put the twist into the fibers, and the wheel takes the yarn onto the bobbin as you spin, so you don't stop to wind the yarn on - the wheel takes care of that for you.

If you are moving from spinning on a spindle to spinning on a wheel, there are some wheel skills you'll develop -- treadling at just the right speed to keep the wheel going, but not so fast that you spin supercoils; learning to adjust the take-in on the wheel (be it scotch tension, double drive, bobbin brake ...) so that the yarn will come onto the flyer at the speed you want it to, not get ripped out of your hand or just flop around in front of the orifice without winding on.

It's helpful to just treadle the wheel without any fiber on it, for a fair bit of time; grownups are impatient, so they seldom do this for more than 2 minutes; but my kids each did it patiently for hours, and really got their "wheel feet" down before they touched fiber. Figure out how slowly you can treadle and keep the wheel going in the same direction. Master keeping it going clockwise and then master keeping it going counterclockwise. Determine where to stop the treadling so that you can start again without using your hands -- both for the clockwise direction and the counterclockwise direction.

Then play with a really long leader on the bobbin, feeling the tension on the wheel; you should be able to pull the leader back off the bobbin without pulling too hard (unless you're using a woolee winder) and yet also have it wind on if you let it/loosen up your tug a bit.

While we're on the topic of automatic take-up: Sleeping Beauty did not have a modern spinning wheel -- there's nothing on it to prick your finger. She had the pre-flyer wheel, usually called a Great Wheel, with a spindle being driven by the wheel. The spindle can be quite sharp at the end and is ultimately prickable. My great wheel's spindle is protected with a cork when not in use.

Take a look at where your wheel might want oiling; typically the bar the bobbin is on benefits from a bit of oil between bobbin changes. Other parts of the wheel may also want oiling once in a while -- don't forget the hinges on the foot pedals!

One final difference of note ... you won't be able to walk around and wheel spin ;-) so you'll need to master the art of sitting still ... LOL. Movies help. "Ghandi" is a nice, peaceful, loooong movie, I love spinning to that one.

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