Many Trails
Oct. 18, 2012
by Adrien F. Taylor
Oct 18, 2012 | 333 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I started writing about my history with and love of spinning recently, then got sidetracked by some cooking disasters. Those over and cleaned up, with the exception of one pan, which will never be the same again, I’ll try to pick up where I left off.

That said, or rather written, I already digress to wonder about the origin of the saying “to pick up where you left off.” I suppose it could be any of several occupations, but for me, it applies neatly to knitting. One literally picks up the knitting stitches where they were stopped earlier.

But back to spinning wheels, I figure I’ve owned about 10 different ones during my career, including those I have now. These have included most all of the better-known brands, including two Timbertops, which were made in England and are no longer made by the same maker. I have sold them both, and for good reasons, but I would love to have them back because they were such a joy to spin on. But that was then and this is now, and I know the ladies who now own those wheels love them as much as I loved them.

I have owned a couple of Majacraft wheels, which are made in New Zealand. The same is true of them in terms of the joy of spinning, but I was taken quite aback the other day on seeing the prices on the new models: $1,200. I won’t be going that direction again soon!

My favorite wheels of the day are made in the good old USA, two of them in nearby Boulder, Colo. I have to digress again to say I am often asked by spinning students what is my favorite wheel, and I have to answer (along with a whole lot of other spinners) that it is the one I am now spinning on.

The two wheels are Schacht brand, made in Boulder for 40-plus years. I know that because I became one of a relatively small number of spinners who was able to obtain one of their 40th anniversary model Schacht Matchless wheels. I sold my old Schacht Matchless to a dear spinning friend, and so the spinning stock moves from owner to owner.

Then, as I could see my basket of bobbins was dwindling, thankfully, due to several wheels being sold, along with their accoutrements, I decided to streamline. I bought a Schacht Ladybug, so bobbins would be interchangeable. The only problem was that the shafts on the fliers of the two Schacht wheels were not interchangeable with all the whorls, as advertised. The folks at Schacht had me send them back for machining, and they arrived home last week, interchangeable as promised.

So now I’m down to three wheels: the two Schachts, as noted, plus a Drudik that I bought from an owner in Virginia over the Internet. The Drudik is a quite high-end wheel. My description is that if the Schachts are the Cadillacs of wheels, the Drudik is a Rolls Royce. The Drudik came available at the same time my mother’s estate was disbursed, and it seemed to me she would have approved the purchase of the wheel with her money. The arrangements required to get the Drudik from Virginia to Utah were almost the stuff of high intrigue, but it’s here, and while the two Schachts’ parts were off in Colorado being mechanically surgerized, I was forced to become more intimately acquainted with the Drudik. A love affair has ensued.

However, Mr. Drudik is not a portable guy, except maybe across one room. So he stays put, and the Ladybug Schacht has become my travel/portable wheel.

Oops. I forgot. I also have an electric spinner, which was a really good friend those many weeks my left ankle was in a cast. Now it is used mostly for plying yarns together. So I guess I still have quite a nice little stable of spinning wheels, not to count the spindles, but that’s a whole other subject. I said the other day that I’m now through with buying and selling wheels. A friend interjected: “Don’t bet on it.”

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