Wheel buyers guide January 14 2018
For most of us buying a spinning wheel will be a significant purchase but how do you know which one you should buy? Friends will no doubt tell you that their wheel is the best but the fact is it is a very personal choice and what works for one person may not feel comfortable for another. Here we keep things very simple and to try to help you decide.
- Single treadle or double treadle
- Single drive or double drive
- Which make
- Buying used
- Buying new
- Which model
Single treadle or double treadle?
Your first and most important choice is between single or double treadle. That is to say whether you will be using one foot or both feet to operate the wheel. Get this choice wrong and you will be stuck with an uncomfortable wheel. The trick is to try both options. You don't have to know how to spin to do this just sit there and pedal away at a steady pace for a few minutes and go for what feels right for you. If you cannot treadle all is not lost as an electric spinner is also available.
Single drive or double drive?
You will see spinning wheels described as either single drive or double drive. Ultimately this will not matter too much as you will soon master which ever system you choose but if in doubt choose the single drive system as it is simpler. Single drive spinning wheels will have a drive band that wraps around the wheel and flyer ONCE plus a separate band and spring arrangement that applies braking pressure to the bobbin. Double drive spinning wheels have a drive band that wraps around the wheel and flyer TWICE that applies both drive and braking pressure to the bobbin.
Ashford has been a trusted brand around the world for more than 80 years and in our opinion are the best choice of spinning wheel for a number of reasons. They are very good quality, reliable, easy to use, simple to maintain and spares are readily available. There are lots of other brands available.
If you are going to buy a used spinning wheel then do make sure that spare parts and especially extra bobbins are readily available - that bargain wheel may end up costing you a lot more when you have to get spare bobbins hand made. If you stick with the Ashford brand you should be able to get parts and bobbins off the shelf.
Order a new Ashford spinning wheel from FibreHut for delivery to your door. Most models come flat packed and will require assembly (except the Joy and E-spinner). Come and visit our retail shop and you can try before you buy (check stock before travelling). We can also assemble, set up and apply wax your new wheel! FibreHut are an official Ashford main dealer with wheels to suit every lifestyle and a good range of spares, bobbins and accessories on the shelf plus we can service your old Ashford wheel while-u-wait. Wheel tuition also available.
Which Ashford model to choose?
Currently the Ashford range consists of the following models. Follow the links for a detailed description of each wheel.
This is a double treadle, single drive wheel. It has a modern sliding hook flyer with 2 ratios. The 45cm wheel is made from mdf which where the cost saving is making it a very affordable choice with no compromises. This very forgiving wheel has gained a great reputation especially with beginners. Version 3 of the Kiwi also has folding foot treadles!
This is a single treadle wheel available in both single and double drive. It has a traditional looking flyer with brass hooks and 4 ratios. Older models will have only 2 ratios. Probably the most popular spinning wheel ever, there are 1000's of these wheels in circulation and spares are readily available. You won't go wrong with this choice.
This is a double treadle wheel available in both single and double drive. It is a very pretty castle design where the flyer sits above the wheel which gives it a smaller footprint saving a little floorspace. It has a traditional looking flyer with brass hooks and 4 ratios. Older models will have only 2 ratios. Lots of spares available and a nice 'Rumpelstiltskin' look.
This is a contemporary design folding wheel so it can be carried easily in cars and takes up little space at home. It comes as either single or double treadle and single drive. It has a modern sliding hook flyer with 2 ratios and comes with a top quality fitted bag. A fantastic premium choice.
This beautifully crafted wheel has a huge 61cm wheel. It is a single treadle double drive wheel with scotch tension as well. It is fitted with a traditional style 3 ratio flyer. A beautiful wheel and a truly luxurious choice if you have the space.
This is a specialist wheel designed to spin the extra bulky yarns used in rug weaving and chunky knitting or for plying bulk quantities. The orifice is absolutely huge. It is a double treadle, single drive wheel with a big 2.7mm orifice for those extra bulky art yarns.
No treadling required with this compact and reliable electric spinning wheel. Single drive with a modern sliding hook flyer that takes larger capacity jumbo bobbins. Runs off the mains or via a 12 volt car adapter.
Once you have your spinning wheel you can relax and enjoy creating your own unique yarn. Take the time to learn how to keep it maintained, oiled and running smoothly. Why not join a local spinners guild, or book an improvers lesson, or pop along to one of the regular sit and spin days held here at FibreHut.