I'm in a spin...

I'm enjoying knitting so much that - along with my preference for natural worsted and chunky yarn - has got me thinking about spinning.

So I've booked myself onto a workshop in September at London's Handweavers' Studio and ordered a spindle and some carded wool from Scottish Fibres.

The big question is whether I'll buy a spinning wheel if I take to it.

Has anyone on the site got any experience or opinions on the Ashford Joy or the Kromski Sonata wheels? Would be really interested.

My first choice is the Joy, but the Sonata can be had for almost USD 200 less.


I cannot comment on either but I have the Kromski Symphony and it is WONDERFUL craftsmanship.

And MAN...I checked the price on ebay....it has gone up USD $100-200 or so since the fall~

Britisher's picture

Another useful endorsement of the Kromski brand. As for the price increase, I suspect it may be the result of currency exchange rates, with a weak US Dollar.

Tallguy's picture

As with all things fibre related, there is a lot of personal preferences involved. All wheels are good.. they work... but each has a little bit of differences (right or wrong) and you will like one thing but not another.

The best advice is to wait in buying. At the workshop, you will have an opportunity to try a few wheels. Go to shops, talk to friends, sit down and give each one a spin. You will find that some are better at certain work, while others are easier to move around. After a time, you will realize that you like this height, you like double drive over Scotch tension, you like this ratio over that one, you like the single over the double treadle... oh, the list goes on. And then finally you will realize that you can't have just one wheel (I have three) and before you know it, you will have a collection of wheels like you have a collection of needles and wool! That's just the way it goes.

You are going to love spinning!!! Well, after the initial frustrations and crying. But after that, you will absolutely love it!!

Britisher's picture

Many thanks for the advice and encouragement. I'm sure reference to the frustrations while learning a new skill are realistic. I wonder whether it'll be as bad as the time I had to frog a raglan back to the arm joins? Not sure that I have room for more than one wheel, though. We'll see.

Blankie's picture

I also have a Kromski Symphony, and I totally love it, my friend PJ swears by her Louet S90 and is really fond of the Ashfords, too. Tallguy makes a great point, try several different wheels, understand how they are different/the same and get a little spinning under your belt. I personally like a double wheel drive and hate Scotch tensioning. Louets have a unique mechanism that turns the bobbin instead of the flyer (or is it vice versa...?)

I landed on the Kromski Symphony for several reasons. I love the look of it and the craftsmanship (there are no plastic parts, so you can use it in historic restoration events), it was the right proportion for my build--I'm 6'1" and 195, most wheels were just too small and cramped. Unfortunately, the majority are built with a 5'6" woman in mind as it's target market... and also the price is unbeatable.

Spin through the frustration and keep that first skein of yarn, you'll look back and love it later.

Britisher's picture

Great comments and a useful endorsement of the Kromski brand. Like you, aesthetics and size feature in my thinking, though I'm probably more interested in something more contemporary, as it needs to fit with my home and be packed away. Somehow I think that if my Mom saw a spinning wheel in the corner of her bachelor son's living room it would be the icing on the cake of her day, lol.

montanason's picture

I wish you much luck in this new adventure. I, too, finally turned to spinning. I am very new at it. I've had one class with a top whorl, drop spindle and I love it. I am also wanting very much to buy a spinning wheel and have had my heart set on getting the Ashford Joy. Mostly because it looks so compact and I watched a demo. several years ago with that wheel. I haven't made a purchase yet and am waiting until I can get more experience and also maybe try several. I love the idea of spinning my own yarn and then knitting with it. So far I haven't created any yarn but I'm having fun learning. Enjoy your new artistic endeavor. I hope it turns out well and that you will be on your way to an enjoyable expression of yourself.
Phillip Rolfe

Britisher's picture

Thanks, Philip, you are slightly ahead of me. Best of luck yourself. The Ashford Joy looks so appealing, in addition to the ability to carry it about. Keep us posted with your progress.

VillageKnittiot's picture

I have 2 wheels. One is an Ashford Joy, other Clemes&Clemes Modern.
I pretty much learned on the Ashford Joy. It's easy to figure out, tensioning is easy. I also love the fact how small it is compared to other wheels. Also, the fact that it has a lot of different ratios makes it nice as you progress or if you decide you want to go from chunky yarns to finer lace weights. (higher the ration, the less you have to treadle... the finer the gauge the more twist it has to have.) My Clemes is still a little bulky for me but I'm determined to get the hang of it. As said before, try as many as you like. Most stores will let you go in and test drive their wheels (its like a car, once you test drive one, you want to buy one!).

For Fiber, my favorite at the moment is a 90% Merino w/ 10% silk blend. I would stay away from some of the exotics at first and look for something with a long staple. (lengh of the fiber). The longer the staple, the longer you have to work with it is what I have found for myself.

Good luck! I have heard wonderful things about Kromski's too.