Since I went to Yarn School (has it been a month already?), I have been dreaming about spinning. I mean, at night, as I sleep, I actually dream I’m spinning. My muscles remember pulling the fiber and treadling my feet. Its like taking a landlumber to the ocean for the very first time and teaching her to swim then shipping her back to Nevada. That’s Yarn School for the wheel-less. A vast ocean of spinning joy.
I have accumulated at least a dozen hours of research about each of the wheels I had the privilege to test at Harveyville as well as looking at a few I didn’t get to try. I prefer the look of the modern wheels – they make me feel less like a historical re-enactor at Colonial Willamsburg. Not that there’s anything wrong with re-enactors. Some of my bestest pals are re-enactors. Its just not my thing. I’m a mid-century modern girl influenced more by Rae Eames than Susan B. Anthony. I’ve been considering the Fricke, the Louets, the Lendrum and a couple of others (Ashford Kiwi and the Ladybug). The only wheel I hadn’t actually had a chance to try is the Ashford Kiwi which looks nice and petite, has loads of options but is continually described as “a beginner’s wheel.” I don’t really want to invest money in a wheel I’ll just want to sell in a year or two because I’ve grown beyond it. I’m also not a fan of the hooks used to feed the yarn onto the bobbin. The Fricke is a good wheel, reasonably priced but its looks are so-so. (I am such a design snob!) The Lendrum is a great value but seems to have clearly been designed for someone over 5’6″. Louet has some budget wheels and some higher tier wheels but the most diminutive is the Victoria. The Ladybug is small with a red plastic wheel and big pedals, it accepts all of the same accessories as the more pricey Matchless wheel including the tensioned Lazy Kate so if I ever decided to upgrade to a Matchless, all the additional accessories would transfer. I think its the only wheel I’ve considered that has the double drive band (translation: extra fancy). Its pretty appealing but is definitely one of the more expensive wheels.
The verdict? I want an expensive, largely impractical (not a lot of ratios, no bulky flyer) but physically tiny wheel (fits in a carrying bag that can go in the overhead bin on an airplane) called a Louet Victoria. I think its the prettiest and most comfortable wheel I tried. If I ever get really good at spinning and want to spin production quantities of yarn to sell, then maybe I’ll want to upgarde to a wheel with a larger capacity bobbin and a wider range of ratios.
More wheel lust:
While we’re on the subject of wheel lust, I have another brand of wheel lust at the moment as well – new bike lust! Several years ago, I bought a shiny, new Kona Dew Deluxe. It was a considerable upgrade from my previous bike which was a low-end Specialized mountain bike, my first bike since childhood. The Specialized served me well through years of Chicago city abuse including wiping out at a red light on my birthday. I was looking forward to putting just as many miles on the Kona. It didn’t happen. The Kona was a longer bike with ergonomics more consistent with a road bike (think Lance Armstrong not Amsterdam girl). So the Kona spent years collecting dust in the basement. This spring, with the worst case of wheel fever, I decided I was either going to figure out how to make the Kona ride-worthy or I was going to sell it and buy something like this:
It’s the Specialized Globe City bike. It has fenders, a chain guard, a kick stand and a light so it would be the perfect town comuter bike. It’s a little bit Copenhagen, a little bit urban and a whole lotta expensive (clocking in at a little over $900). It does have a super cool 8-speed internal hub which adds to the cost of the bike as do all the accessories. The stripped down model clocks in at about $550 which still seems expensive for a kind-of-nice knockabout bike. The City model is inspired by the city bikes of Amsterdam and Copenhagen where cycling is part of the urban lifestyle and not an extreme sport. With gas prices the way they are and the environment continuing to decline, I feel like its my responsibility to ride more and drive less so finding a comfortable bike that appeals to my aesthetics (again with the damned aesthetics!) seems to more important than ever. Besides, its gorgeous weather right now and I want the wind in my hair as I tool around town.
So yeah, I have wheel lust bad.