As you know, we just acquired our first (used) spinning wheel–a little Schacht Ladybug, which I love very much. I say “we” quite literally here, because while I did front the cash, my boys have both been bitten by the spinning bug. As I recall, they each took two or three turns at the wheel before I ever even had a change to touch the thing!
So, why a Schacht? I did a lot of research on wheels (prices, styles, options), I asked the experts online, watched a ton of YouTube videos (especially those by Expertly Dyed), polled my spinning guild, and finally settled on the Ladybug: it’s light, a good beginner wheel, has the option of single or double drive, seemed well made, and it’s a mid-range wheel–this means that it falls somewhere between the super $1000+ wheels and the budget/traveling wheels, which start at about $300 new. Plus, the Ladybug’s component parts are compatible with the Schacht Matchless–aka the Cadillac of wheels. The best advice came from this post by Abby’s Yarns; indeed, nearly everyone pointed me to this post at some point when I asked them for their advice. Sometimes, someone just takes the time and gets it right!
Once I settled on my wheel of choice, the problem became acquisition. I didn’t really want to buy a new wheel; I was still wondering if I would even like spinning . . . all I had tried to this point was a drop spindle and that had gone OK, but not spectacular. I joined my local guild to gain access to their study groups, equipment, webpages, and advice. I had every intention of renting one of their wheels to try this whole thing out before investing. But then, something magical happened: a guild member posted a used Ladybug in reply to my question about which wheel to start with. She had one in hand, used, and she was only over the river and through the woods in Danville, IL. What?!?!? uhm, yes, please. This was fate loudly knocking at my door.
So I went to visit the wheel and there met a woman who was a machine sock knitter–oh my the machines she had in her house were amazing! Plus a walking wheel in the loft! She showed me the ropes, had me try out the wheel and, when I agreed to buy it, sent me on my way with a huge bag of Shetland fiber for practice. I am still working through that bag nearly a month later.
The first bobbins were definitely a bit thick and thin and wobbly; but the last bobbin is filled with something resembling a single-ply yarn! I plan to fill bobbin #2, try my hand at plying and then find some other fiber to spin up. As with knitting, the mantra is “no fear!”
You’ll notice that I titled this post “First Wheel” because, well, most spinners I know acquire several wheels throughout their tenure at the craft. Different wheels really do matter, some say; others contend that a good spinner can spin anything on any wheel . . . I’ll have to report back on that one in about 2-3 decades.