Arianne asked: I would like to know how many wheels you have and what wheels they are. Clever Arianne, figuring out I have several-to-many :-)
I got to wondering, why it might be of interest ... I mean, perhaps I have the-miracle-wheel-to-top-all-wheels. Or something interesting and not mainstream. Or have a focus of wheel-to-purpose. Ha! Not so lucky, I'm afraid. I have this and that, my attention wanders from interest to interest as I myself find more wheel makers or come across interesting wheels either new or second hand.
But in any case, here's a current inventory, with some more free advice at the end...
The wheel shot's been done already ... Habetrot's post of the old and the new collections, and besides, it's so grey here, and the wheels are tucked hither and yon. Maybe in the summer ...
But you may remember this bobbin shot, which is just as telling:
From left to right, this identifies the wheels in my house:
- Majacraft standard
- Majacraft WooLee Winder
- Majacraft Plying (new style)
Theses are all used on my Majacraft Suzie Alpaca Wheel. I purchased this, with the accelerator head and a WooLee Winder, after selling my Schacht Matchless (with a WW) and Little Gem. It combines the excellent features of both. This is my current favorite production wheel.
- Pocket Wheel
okay, there are TWO of these in my house -- DD loves it to bits, and I do too. An amazing travel wheel, terrific for workshops and also for teaching, because participants can clearly see my hands.
- Van Eaton Fold N'Tote (applewood)
This is very much a treasure, and my son loves it! It's "his when he moves out", as he bounces between this and the Mach 1.
- Journey Wheel
This is the most gorgeous wheel I own. Lovely action, lovely appearance. Ahhhh.
- SpinOlution Mach 1
My son adores this wheel; very much a terrific production wheel, for anything from laceweight to art yarns. Unique construction and treadling make it really handy for folks who can't stand a normal double treadle.
- Ashford Jumbo (for my Butterfly e-spinner)
- Lendrum WooLee Winder (for my Butterfly e-spinner)
The Butterfly has been a wonderful e-spinner for me -- electric yet quiet. What a combination!! It trained me to spin faster than the WooLee Winder, and is a terrific plying horse.
- Jensen Tina II
This "fell" into my lap last year. It's soooo lovely, cherry wood. It's slated for DD when she leaves home, and just a delight to have on hand to look at, not to mention spin on. I got the high speed kit for it too, you know me, I love the speed!
So, that's eight wheels. Shhh, there's a Watson Martha being made for me now too.
I also have two charkas -- a Bosworth book charka, and a Reeves charka, and another being custom built (oops, that's a stealth project of mine...)
It's interesting also to contemplate the wheels I have owned in the past, and what they taught me...
- Louet S-10: my absolute first wheel; second-hand, came with a lesson. A total workhorse, and really I should have kept it, but the wheels were multiplying like mad!
- Ashford Traditional: I had two of these, a relatively new one and an older kit wheel. Worked nice; I learned about double drive and spinning angora on these. But, they too eventually went to new spinners themselves to make room for the rest of the wheels. The S-10 and these made room for the Schacht Matchless.
- Louet S-45: really cute, super-fast, fun to spin on, but it moved on to make room for the Little Gem.
- Shacht Matchless: truly the Cadillac of spinning wheels.
- Little Gem: marvelously compact, always fondly remembered as my first Majacraft. Terrific enjoyment of the delta orifice, that really was an eye-opener.
- Lendrum DT Complete: another wheel I desired; but it wasn't really stable on its base for me, I guess I push too hard? well, a nicely made wheel and a terrific travel bag with it, so it moved on to a new home fairly quickly and happily.
- Clemes & Clemes: this was a real desire of mine, I tracked it down and had fun on it. I loved having double drive, and the look of this is unique. But it had to go, to make room for the in-progress Martha.
- Betty Roberts upright: an amazingly gorgeous wheel, too, and so high speed. I'd though nothing could match it, but the Majacraft does a really good job, and with the Martha coming, this one found a new forever home too :).
- Electric spin-it from Woolworks, precursor to the Fricke e-spinner. A nice little electric wheel, and fit Majacraft bobbins too. But a bit loud for me, sigh. Sold for a newer Fricke e-spinner...
- Fricke e-spinner. Purchased in the hopes it would be quieter than the spin-it. It was, but not quite enough (sigh). So sold to help the Butterfly fund :)
- An antique great wheel -- lovely, but soooo large! it went when I needed more room for just living (moved into a smaller house)
- A variety of charkas -- Ashford accelerated, Indian book charka, cigar box charka, and Elliott charka; that last was the hardest to part with, but really so many charkas was just silly; two is the right number (okay, okay, three :) I have my reasons, you'll see!)
- Louet S-17: this was my son's wheel, but he was so in love with the Mach 1, we sold it to keep a Mach 1 for him.
And, because I teach, I get to try many makes/makers, from the well-known to the one or two. I've treadled the Ashford Joy, Schacht-Reeves (ah), Reeves production (ahh), Watson Marie (aahhh), Lendrum production (ah), Jensen Production (ah), Babe's Fiber Garden PVC, Ashford Traveller, Kromski Sonata, Hitchhiker, Columbine (metal), Fricke, Ashford Kiwi, Majacraft Rose, Roberta Electric, and a ton of others, branded, no-names, and antiques. I love walking up to a new-to-me wheel and seeing what it can do!
Let's not talk about the drum carders (ok, Supercarder and Duncan; had an Ashford fine cloth once, and big mill Exotica and Rover in the past) or the picker (triple, had a bare wood picker first, and a big mill powered picker in the past). Or hand cards/flickers (lots -- I teach, remember) and combs/hackles (ditto). Or tools -- skeiners, niddies, nostes, ball winder(s), .....
And then the spindles. Ahhhh. Love my spindles, all sorts there.
If you are trying to figure out what the right wheel for you is, by all means get to a fiber show or a big shop and try several makers out. At fiber shows you can try, if you're lucky, lesser-known wonder wheels like the Drudic Wheel (sigh, no longer being made) on the west coast, or a Robin Wheel on the east coast (USA); or an Ettrick Wind Wheel, in Australia (actually, I saw one at Black Sheep a year or so ago! Cool!!)
And if you're not certain, I'd say, start with an "entry" wheel like the Louet S-10 or Ashford Traditional. They are solid, and it may just be all the wheel you need. A local friend loves hers to bits, it's her only wheel and spins everything she wants.
If you're buying second hand, spin on the wheel -- new spinner? bring a spinner friend to try it out.
Abby gives great advice on choosing a first wheel on her blog, if you'd like more concrete tips.
For specific wheels, I've a few detailed blog posts, see the Wheels list.
posted 7 January 2009 at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/