The Majacraft Blog The official blog of Majacraft

2Aug/151

All the Wheels!

The simple art of adding twist to fibers. Spinning. It doesnt seem too hard does it?! And yet for most of us, it is a continual learning curve, once started it seems our discovering is never 'finished'. For which I am very thankful! It amazes me that after all this time as a spinner I still find there is so much yet to learn and new things to find out. No wonder we are all hooked! Ours is a craft that continues to allow us to push boundaries, to practice traditions, and to combine a love of colour with a love of texture and play with the wonderful fibers that are available to us today.

And then there are the wheels.

The right wheel allows us to create the yarn we want. It becomes an extension of ourselves, the instrument with which we are so familiar we can almost instinctively create what we have in our heads. In fact the wheel becomes almost invisible in the process, if it is the right wheel,  you do not need to fight it, you don't need to pay it extra attention and it lets you you focus soley on the process of your creation, supporting your requirements by offering you ease of use and adjustment capabilities that let you stretch your own boundaries as you learn and grow as a spinner.  This is precisely why I have stuck with Majacraft tools for years now, because I know I can count on them to respond to my style of usage and give me the freedom to get the results I have already imagined in my head.

There are so many spinning wheels choose from though! It can be very daunting to a beginner spinner: single or double treadle? Scotch or Irish tension, or Double Drive? What size bobbins, and what on earth are 'ratios' anyway?!

And for the more advanced spinner, often moving from one wheel to another as their spinning needs change, decisions  come down to what kind of yarn they want to spin, bobbin capacity requirements, even just that a wheel is 'pretty' can be enough reason to add to the wheel collection :)  But again, it always takes some research into what wheels are available, and matching that up with what you anticipate you will most likely want to spin the most of. A big consideration in choosing a new wheel is being able to find one that will grow with you and not restrict your spinning to just one style as you expand your interests and skills.

Of course, if you are like me, you will not know exactly what you will always want to spin in advance, OR you will know that actually, you want to be able to spin absolutely anything! One solution to this is to have multiple wheels, but another is to have one wheel with multiple accessories that allow you to specialise in more than one spinning style. Majacraft offers us, as spinners, this second option beautifully.

We can go from this lace spinning set up:

to this art yarn or production spinning on the Overdrive:

and everything in between, and all on the one wheel!

All the important parts like flyers, bobbins, and different pulley sizes, are interchangeable between most of the Majacraft Wheels.

I have my One Wheel, the Aura, which suits my spinning style perfectly. I can spin anything on it. I use my Overdrive for giant yarns in large quantities, also for spinning multiple batts in one session. I have fit 5 batts on one bobbin with barely a pause between, and it removes any possibility of not quite having enough room on my bobbin to finish plying those last ten yards of single from a one off batt.

I can also spin fine on this self same wheel, using the lace bobbin and flyer. As an example of the really stunning possibilities check out the wonderful lace spinning of Evanita Montalvo, spun on her Aura using the Aura Lace Kit with the Flyer, Lace Bobbin, and lace whorl/pulley.

This is one of the greatest strengths of Majacraft spinning wheels, they have so many accessories and interchangeable parts that one wheel is often all you need even when your spinning requirements change (which of course they do over time).

So here is my big tip if you are wondering which wheel you should buy. Think about your current spinning needs, rather than trying to predict what you will be spinning in two years time.

Do you want to spin a LOT of lace weight and fine yarns? But you think you might want to do an occasional bulky yarn? You could consider a Rose, which will spin wonderful fine traditional yarns out of the box. You can add a laceweight flyer head to that for your big projects and save yourself some treadling with the high ratios it offers you. And later you can even add the Wild Flyer and Jumbo bobbins for your bigger yarns. Then if you really get extreme one day, most Rose wheels will also fit the amazing Overdrive head with its 32oz bobbins! All this on one wheel :)

If you are primarily interested in big yarns, art yarns, and experimental spinning, you might choose the Aura, with its fine adjustments and double drive, it gives you a huge range of spinning possibilities on any kind of yarn. It comes standard with the Jumbo bobbins and has the amazing and unique 'pigtail' orifice that keeps your yarn steady while still being totally bypassable when necessary. But you can spin traditional yarn on this wheel too! It gives you a total set and forget adjustment because the double drive system maintains the same flyer-bobbin ratio from start to finish, unlike other tension systems that require multiple adjustments as your bobbin fills. Add a Lace kit for fine and an Overdrive for giant, keep the Jumbo bobbins for your 'everyday' spinning.

If you need a travel wheel then the Little Gem (my other baby) is perfect, because it will also fit your lace bobbins and flyer as well as your jumbo and wild flyer combinations! It comes with the standard bobbins too so you have a full range even with your travel wheel. It could also be your only wheel and you could still spin anything with the right accessories.

So when it comes to choosing your wheel - plan for the short term. You know what you want to spin now, and be confident that with a Majacraft wheel, the wide range of  interchangeable accessories and extra spinning heads will allow you to expand your  future spinning without needing to buy an entire new wheel.

You can check out the wheels and accessories on the website right here: http://www.majacraft.co.nz/wheels.php  And remember you can contact me (Suzy@woolwench.com) any time if you would like some extra help to choose the right wheel for you!

Till next time

Happy Spinning!