There have been two new wheels in the house in the last couple of months. I will deal with one of them here today, and move onto the other soon.
I wanted a single treadle for myself that I don't have to take my ongoing project off when I teach (very indulgent with 6 wheels here already I know). The trads are absolutely lovely wheels, and I adore them, but I have a slight problem with my right leg/foot. I was in a car accident about 12 years ago, when someone ran me off the road and I ended up in a ditch. I braked hard when I realised what was happening and in doing so, had my right leg locked straight as the impact happened. For the first few years the pain was in my hip, but now it is more in my foot and ankle. This can cause problems sometimes with treadling with this foot, so I wanted a single treadle wheel.
Whilst treadling with one foot on the trad, I am slightly twisted, as the maiden and flyer are to the left of the treadle. This is ok for a while, but not long term, and sometimes I spin for days on end. Of course this is all a bit of an excuse to get a new wheel!
I fancied something really new, and a couple of students gave excellent reports on the Woolmakers Bliss wheel. When I looked, I liked that the single treadle was large and in the middle, so each foot could do the treadling separately if I wanted, or together. Also being white was so different and pretty. So I ordered one.
I have to say this is a wonderful wheel. It has near silent operation, and is very easy to spin. I love that I don't need an orifice threader (minor point I know) and the orifice has a small reducer if you are doing fine yarns. The scotch tension is very easy to use and again, small, but I love the hooks are coated - looks lovely and smooth to not catch yarn. I ordered the extra bobbins, so I have 6 bobbins in total, which will be enough for anything I want to do. The built in lazy kate down the side is really clever for keeping all the bobbins together.
I am not sure yet whether I will exclusively use the lazy kate for plying, as the singles are coming in at an unusual angle, or is it just not what I am used to and will be fine? Only time will tell. So far I have predominantly plyed from the side and it has been fine. Again, another lovely design element is that each bobbin has a centre pin which slots into the hole in the side of the wheel.
The flyer is another different feature that I am not used to. The front is magnetically attached, and just pulls off. It is so easy to change bobbins. The drive band even stays on when changing the bobbin as well, so there is a lot less fuss than I am used to. In fact, that would adequately describe how I find this wheel. Less fuss, more spin!
Now for the slightly negative bits.
It is a tiny bit light. I like a meaty wheel. I don't mean delicate - she doesn't feel like she will break - just not weighty. There are a good number of ratios on the wheel, but with the smaller ones, she doesn't feel quite comfortable doing it, so I don't use the fastest any more - bit too much vibration. Also, as Louet don't have time to develop this wheel further at the moment, there is no jumbo flyer. So for doing normal yarn, it is fine, but if you think you may want to do more than that, then there are no more bits for the time being. Now, I only spun "normal" yarn for years, and didn't need a jumbo flyer, but as we don't know when they will develop one, it is not totally future proofing at the moment. However, if you can afford two, and use this one as a main work horse, then I would still advise it.
Overall, it is the simplest, quietest, easiest wheel I have ever had the pleasure to spin on. I heartily recommend it, subject to the caveats above. She is called Grace.
On another note, I already have an Ashford drum carder, but how cute is the Hero drum carder by the same people. It is narrower than mine, but a girl can always make way for more. Just not at the moment....
Love and light