That Learning Curve

When I bought the Spinolution Echo at the end of June, I knew there were accessory packages available.

As the concept and system are modular, the flyer heads come in different sizes (4 oz., 8 oz, and 16 oz.) and are completely interchangeable. There are add-on, on-board Lazy Kates, as well as a skein winder.

In trying to decide what I needed initially and what I may need in the future, I only bought the basic unit with the 4-oz. head and three extra bobbins. My hesitation was primarily not knowing a) whether I could spin successfully and b) whether I would really enjoy it.

Two months later, I have added the 8 oz. flyer head, two 8 oz. bobbins, a Lazy Kate, and a skein winder.


If only I had known...

On the flip side, I would hate to have made the huge purchase with the wheel and all the attachments, if spinning ended up being "not my jam."

In sharing my thought process, I thought I may help someone else with the decision-making process.

Flyer heads.

As my experience is basically with the Echo, I am uncertain whether other brands offer different sized heads or bobbins on their wheels.

The 4-ounce is a good introductory size, as most of the braids, batts, and tops I find are sold in 4-ounce increments.

I assume the basic option with this fiber is to divide it into two halves, spin each half separately, then ply them both together, unless one does a Navajo-type ply, then the entire unit of fiber may be spun on one bobbin and plied onto another.

My initial impulse was to select the 8-ounce flyer head because I know me, and I know yardage is important to me (the more yards the greater the options); however, I went down the rabbit hole of ratios and discovered the finer the yarn one wishes to spin, the higher the ratio one needs. Further, the highest ratios were available on the 4-ounce flyer head. Thus, that is what I bought. If you are interested, here is the ratio guide for my wheel.

After I began spinning, I realized that I liked to combine two different hand-dyed braids, which meant I filled a bobbin for each braid. When I plied them together, I needed two separate bobbins for the finished yarn. This was not a problem, as the wheel came with three bobbins, and I initially purchased three more. I had plenty of bobbins. My issue was having to tie a knot to join them when I skeined them.

Joining the yarn from the two bobbins with a knot bothered me.

I solved that problem by acquiring an 8-ounce flyer head and bobbins; however, I decided to limit the number of 8-oz. bobbins to three. Six 4-ounce bobbins would feed equally onto 3 8-ounce bobbins. Thus far, that simple math has worked perfectly.

Because I weave and have the ability to warp sectionally, I have dozens of these cardboard bobbins.

If I have singles that I am not yet ready to ply and feel compelled to spin more singles, I simply off-load them onto to the cardboard bobbins for storage to free up a spinning bobbin. Bonus: I am able to ply directly from these, as well. 

Speaking of plying, I was in no hurry to purchase a Lazy Kate because I planned to use my spool rack in its place. 

In fact, it works beautifully.

However, two weeks after I began spinning, I decided to take a lesson on spinning balanced yarn, and a Lazy Kate was required for the class.

It killed me to purchase something I did not "need," as the rack was working well for me, but the thought of transporting said rack encouraged me to do so.

The Spinolution Lazy Kate is nice looking, fits my wheel, and has the option being attached to the wheel or free-standing; however, it is pricey.

For a third of the cost, I bought a Schacht one:

To be honest, I am thrilled with it! 

It is much easier to cart from place to place than the spool rack. 

Further, in the midst of all this spinning, the handsome husband and I have decided to use the RV more often, and this little Lazy Kate comes apart easily and stores flat, which means it travels easily. 

I really like the look of the Spinolution Lazy Kate and am drawn to the ability to store bobbins on the wheel as I spin, but I am quite pleased with the Schacht one. Also, once attached to the wheel, I would anticipate it would add weight to the wheel and make the whole thing a bit more cumbersome to move around.

Bottom line: The Schacht Lazy Kate was the better buy!

Now, as a long-time knitter, I have a wooden swift. 

In the life of this knitter, this is actually my second swift. The first one was Japanese and made of plastic and metal. The plastic piece attaching it to the bookcase gave up the ghost a few years ago, which is when I moved to this Birch one. 

It has worked wonderfully; however, it is actually made to pull yarn from hanks and into balls. I actually splurged several years ago and have a really nice, heavy duty wooden ball winder

The swift is not actually a skein winder, although I have used it as such. 

I also have a PVC knitty noddy the husband made for me, something like this.

Both work, except for the time I wound the yarn on knitty noddy wrong and had a cross in it, which required me to wind it onto the swift directly off the knitty noddy and took forever...  User error.

Add to the mix that 800 yards of fingering was pushing the limits of what the knitty noddy could hold and using the swift was slightly more efficient than the knitty noddy, I retired it.

While the swift was usable, it created different lengths of yarn because of the vee in the center of the sticks, which became even more apparent the more I elongated the circumference around the swift to make larger hanks/skeins.

Admittedly, the threads of different lengths was primarily aesthetic, but like the knots, it bothered me. 

Then, when I had to wind over a thousand yards of fingering weight yarn into a hank, my shoulders told me there had to be a better way.

The skein winder attachment from Spinolution is totally worth it!

It is made to fit onto the 8-ounce flyer head seamlessly. It is able to wind one-yard or two-yard skeins.

It comes in two pieces that come apart to store flat(ter) than the unit assembled. 

NOW, I am fully equipped to travel with my wheel, two flyer heads, Lazy Kate, and skein winder!

Note to sweet husband: Spinolution has just come out with a spinning chair, which would be an amazing Christmas gift:

The fiber is Root Beer Float in polyworth from Created by ElsieB:

4-ounces of fiber yielded 640 yards of fingering weight yarn!

Anyone else thrilled that fall is almost upon us?


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