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If you are planning on learning wool spinning wheels are one of the options you will need to investigate. For a beginner it can be tricky to wade through. Knowing which type of wheel is the most appropriate not only for a beginner to use but also one that is suitable to for the kind of wool you want to spin can be difficult.
When I bought my wheel I was a little bit lucky. I did do some research but basically ended up winging it and bought a wheel that looked reasonably good, fit comfortably into the boot of my car and took up a minimum of space in the house rather than selected the perfect wheel for my purposes. And that is where the luck came in, the wheel I purchased (over thirty years ago now) is exactly the wheel I need to spin the fine merino or polworth fleeces that I enjoy working with.
My main wool spinning wheel is an Ashford Double Drive Traveller.
This is what a new one looks like these days (mine is slightly different - it only has a single foot treadle), you can buy them online in Australia from Aunt Jenny, and one of these little beauties will set you back around $725 plus delivery costs.
So not really an option for anyone who is not all that serious about taking up spinning as a hobby!
The Traveller is an upright spinning wheel that is lightweight and compact, with a castle wheel will spin fine to medium yarn using the two drive ratios and bulky yarn with the optional jumbo flyer. You can use the double drive or the scotch tension system depending on the type of yarn you wish to spin, I have not ever bothered to switch to the scotch tension system as I can get the same result (pretty much) from adjusting the tension.
The maintenance required for this type of wheel is minimal and believe me, although the initial investment is high, you will be able to use your wheel for literally decades.
However fine spinning may not be your thing, and perhaps you would prefer a more traditional style of wheel?
This wheel is also available from Aunt Jenny and comes in a single drive or a double drive version.
Depending on which one you choose it will cost you around $695 - $715 (plus delivery costs). The wheel is a more traditional shape with the large wheel off to the side.
Unlike the Traveller, this wheel does not have an inbuilt Lazy Kate, but the price for the wheel includes a separate Lazy Kate and four bobbins.
The other option available to you is a truly portable wheel. Aunt Jenny offers several wool spinning wheels that are small enough to cart with you where ever you want to go.
There is the Joy 2 which is a compact wheel is light weight (only 5 kg) and portable with a folding treadle, built-in lazy kate and a carry handle. It folds up neatly and fits inside the carry bag that comes with the wheel, you just need to pick it up and take it with you.
It is even small enough to be carry on luggage if you are flying anywhere!
This wheel is a little more expensive (around $885) but if being truly portable is important to you - perfectly sized to take along on that caravan adventure you are considering maybe - then wheel this would be a good choice.
Or you might like to consider the Kiwi 3.
This wheel is also lightweight (only 5.5 kgs) and has folding foot treadles for easy transport or storage. The wheel has a built in Lazy Kate and comes with three large bobbins.
This wheel is a less expensive option, retailing on the Aunt Jenny site for around $560.
The wheel is constructed using timber veneered MDF wheel rather than solid wood (which might account for the price difference). Apparently this is one the their most popular wheels and the ability to easily transport or store the wheel is certainly an advantage.
Of course the other option if you have any health issues with your limbs (foot treadles can be tough to use if you have hip or knee problems) you might want to consider is an electric wheel.
Aunt Jenny has two electric wheels available, the one below in the E-Spinner 3.
This lovely little wheel is extremely portable and runs off a quiet but powerful 12 volt DC 2.0 amp 70 watt motor. It also comes with optional 12-volt car cord enables you to use it in your car, caravan, RV, or boat with a battery pack.
And it only weighs 2 kg. This type of wheel (seems odd to call it that as there is actually no wheel involved...) will set you back just over $800.
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