Friday, September 27, 2013


For the last several months, I have been eyeing Watson Wheels.

Here is the backstory.

I have three - well, really, four- spinning wheels. I have a walnut upright that was my first wheel, a project wheel if ever there was one. I bought it for somewhere around $75 many, many years ago at an "antique" shop, and my husband Joe helped me retrofit it with an Ashford flyer and new leather bearings. I joke that it only spins reliably in one direction - but it's true; you can make all the singles you want, but the drive band jumps off if you try to ply in the other direction.

I have an Ashford Traditional double-drive with the flyer on the left - the standard issue Ashford that everyone seems to learn on.

I have Mutti's wheel, which I've never taken the time to conquer - and it's pretty clear it was someone else's project wheel. A quick conversation with my friend whose mother-in-law owned it reveals that Mutti never spun on it; instead she used - guess what? - an Ashford Traditional.

And I have a HansenCrafts MiniSpinner which I bought earlier this year for travel. Though not strictly a spinning wheel, this is what I am currently using to spin on pretty much exclusively.

I bought the Ashford probably 20 years ago, new in box, in pieces;  Joe finished and assembled it for me. And I've never really enjoyed spinning on it; I get back and arm pain if I spin on it for more than about half an hour at a time.

Well, guess what? I finally figured out why. (Duh.) I need a wheel with the flyer on the right side.

I hold the fiber supply in my left hand, and control the drafting with my right hand - seemingly backward for someone that's left-handed, but I've spent so many years doing fine motor control things with my right hand in order to get along in the right-handed world that it's more comfortable for me that way. That means the left-hand flyer on the Ashford makes me twist my body in weird ways in order to try to accommodate it - thus the back and arm pain.

I spent a little while trying to teach myself to go the opposite way - but it's too odd and I can't get the hang of it.

This means the Ashford will go away, and I want a different wheel.

I stumbled across Watson Wheels on Ravelry early this year, and quickly became enchanted with them. I have one on order now, and as with everything else I seem to do, there's a story behind that order.

I'll share that story with you soon. And I'm gathering up all the bits and bobs that go with my Ashford Traddy, and will be offering it for sale as soon as I figure out what a fair asking price is. I may also let the others go, if I can figure out prices for them too. Stay tuned.

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