I recently dove down a rabbit hole of handspinning wheels when I was sitting at my Ashford Kiwi wheel thinking to myself, why does the yarn on my bobbin look all wrong? Now keep in mind that this was my first spinning wheel, the wheel I spun on for years, but as of recently I mainly use it as the wheel I ply yarn on. Well there was a reason the yarn looked different. Not because it was wrong but as I found out thru research simply because of the type of wheel it is.
I could not believe how much I didn't know about my wheels and want to share a little of what I learned with you here. Let's start with the basics, there are 3 main types of spinning wheel when it comes to mechanics.
1. Single Drive, Flyer lead or Scotch Tension wheels
This is the most commonly used type of wheel. The Scotch tension wheel, as it is often called, allows for the most adjustments making it able to spin a lot of different yarn weights.
2. Double Drive wheels
This type of wheel has the ability to spin the finest yarns. This is also the most complex of the wheel types.
3. Single Drive, Bobbin lead wheels
This type of wheel is very simple but also the most difficult to make adjustments to.
I have garnered a lot of my information from a very comprehensive book called The Big Book of Handspinning by Alden Amos. This book is densely filled with all the information you may ever need to know about the craft.
So there you have it. A brief introduction into different spinning wheel mechanics! Please keep in mind that these 3 types come in all different shapes, sizes and styles. If you aren't sure what kind of wheel you have, sit down and take a look at how many band loops you have and where they are c onnected? This should help you answer the question. I also walk step by step thru the wheels in Episode 22 of Being Ewethful on YouTube. I will be going more in depth with each wheel over the coming months so please stay tuned for more videos that I hope will help you on your handspinning journey.
What kind of wheel(s) do you have? What is your favorite and/or what wheel do you long to own one day? I would love to hear from you!
I am Kim Biegler, the owner and operator of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill. I create hand spinning fibers from locally sourced wool and teach others online how to hand spin their own yarn.