CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

The Evolution of the Spinning Wheel!

In 2004 I got my first spinning wheel explaining to my husband, “If I have a spinning wheel I can make my own yarn!”  He heard, “I will never buy yarn again.”  Now, anyone who knows me will tell you, I would never utter those words.  In my effort to boost the economy I will always buy yarn.

Four years later I was looking for the perfect wheel to create this new thing called Art Yarn!  I was struggling with any and all of the 15 wheels in my collection to spin the mega thick and thin yarn with giant beads. Then I came upon a new wheel with no restrictive orifice or hooks on the flyer.

INGENIOUS, I thought and while telling my husband about this new incredible wheel for Art Yarn, he said, “If you buy another wheel you better be a dealer.”

I took him up on the suggestion and became the first SpinOlution Dealer April of 2008. My Mach 1 arrived just in time for the CNCH conference in Sacramento.

I showed up with my new wheel straight out of the box and was rolling it into the conference demo area when I realized a group of women was following me.  They were curious to see this new wheel that had a hook instead of an orifice and no orifice hook or oil to keep things working smoothly.

Mach 1 back

Mach 1 back

Mach 1 front

Mach 1 front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rocker style treadle system was so different and easy to use that new spinners could easily control the wheel direction.  Most spinners liked how the wheel stayed put and didn’t move away from the spinner with use.

The large 8 oz. bobbin had great appeal for those that knit with their handspun yarn as a sweater’s worth of yarn without a join could be spun.  This wheel was not light, weighing in at 22 lbs., but it was stable.

The designer of the wheel, Michael Pauly, brought the bulkiness and weight down with his Mach III.  He listened to what the customers asked for and gave it to them and also smoothed out the treadling action.  In doing so he created what is fondly referred to as “The Rolls Royce” of Spinning Wheels combining quality, function and form.

Mach 3 with 3 heads

Mach 3 with 3 heads

Mach 3 with yarn

Mach 3 with yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now there are a selection of bobbin sizes:  8, 16, 32 and 64 oz.  The wheel is made from furniture grade Baltic Birch and has sealed bearings.  It is usually sold with two heads that come with three bobbins each, the removable lazy kate and a pop-on skein winder .

The portable version of this wheel is the King Bee. This accelerated wheel folds into a box shape, fitting nicely into a carry-on bag making this the perfect “Stow-n-Go” Wheel.  Weighing in at about 14 lbs., this wheel offers 10 ratios ranging from 1:2.5 to 1:15. The King Bee also comes with an on-board Lazy Kate.

King Bee open

King Bee open

King Bee folded

King Bee folded

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hopper is also a portable Art Yarn Wheel with an 8 oz.- 32 oz. bobbin capacity.  It’s a bit of a core workout when treadling. This little wheel offers a kick back style of spinning and folds up to fit in a suitcase or backpack.  This wheel is usually sold with two heads that have three bobbins each, the removable lazy kate and pop-on skein winder.

The Hopper

The Hopper

The Hopper with it's equipment

The Hopper with it’s equipment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these can spin fine to super chunky yarn. Let your imagination go wild when creating yarn with a SpinOlution Wheel.

For those seeking a production spinner, the FireFly E-spinner fits the bill nicely with heads from the Hopper or Mach III completely interchangeable.  My favorite is the Mega Head flyer with the 64 oz. bobbin.  A built in battery means you can take this anywhere. Accessories include a car charger, foot pedal and an A/C charger.  This is the perfect spinner for the R-V.  This wheel is usually sold with two heads with three bobbins each, the removable lazy kate and pop-on skein winder.

FireFly with 32 oz. head

FireFly with 32 oz. head

The FireFly with it's equipment

The FireFly with it’s equipment

The skein wind on the FireFly

The skein wind on the FireFly

The newest wheel on the block, the Pollywog, was designed at the request of several moms wanting a beginner wheel for their little ones.  Well, Michael answered the request with this cute but over engineered 8.5 lb. wheel.

the Pooywog

the Pollywog

pollywog with accelerator

Pollywog with accelerator

This wheel is loved by everyone from kids to adults. A lighter than air treadling action makes spinning lace weight to worsted a breeze. This wheel features a standard 4 oz. bobbin so not enough room for those chunky Art Yarns but the perfect wheel to take to guild.  If you need more ratios, an accelerator can be added at a later time.

Lizette Hopkins is the Owner of SpinGlitz and the Northern California SpinOlution Dealer.  She also teaches spinning, dyeing, knitting crochet and ballroom dance.  She  is currently an active member of five fiber-related guilds as well as Dixon’s Lambtown.  Go to SpinGlitz.com for more information on these wheels.

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