Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Schact LadyBug Spinning Wheel

My New Schact LadyBug Spinning Wheel

Spinning fiber is just one of the most fun things to do. The amazing variety of fibers allows you to just keep finding and trying new ones. And their properties! Some are so soft, some have a marvelous sheen, some so elastic while others aren't. But it's the softness I enjoy the most. Common for spinners I'm sure. The funny thing is I've been spinning for almost 10 years and today I'm feeling like I'm experiencing this for the first time!

Several things have occurred to allow this feeling. Several weeks ago a close friend of mine allowed me to borrow and than barter for her Louet Drum Carder. Here's my drum carder:

I love using this carder. So much so that I traded my gorgeous antique Canadian Production Spinning wheel for it. The drum carder allowed me to begin carding some Maine Island Fleece that I've had for two years! I bought the fleece from the Common Ground Fair 2 years ago. I washed it when I purchased it and it's been waiting for carding all this time! Then a week ago I went to Halcyon Yarn and took a spinning workshop with Joli Greene. She is a great spinning instructor! I went with a friend. This is my friend Lesley playing her banjo at our Outdoor Pizza Oven spin last summer:

The workshop was wonderful. I learned that I underspin just about everything! My instructor, Joli, taught me a few simple techniques to correct that bad old habit of mine. Here is her website: (What a talented lady!) I also learned to loosen the tension all the way before I begin to spin and then S-L-O-W-L-Y increase it to just the point it gently pulls on the fiber I'm spinning. Genius! I also learned to consider the project before spinning. Buying fleece and fiber with a project in mind. I must admit that I like this idea. I have usually bought a little fiber here and a little fleece there. Spin them up and now I have tons of single skeins of yarn. Not much good for a big project. There are only so many hats one can have after all! But the most important thing I learned was when Joli said...."You don't like your wheel very much do you?" I was quite surprised by her observation because she was right on. I never have liked my wheel. I had a Lendrum. Many women in my spinning group have Lendrums and love them. I never have. It's funny how some can love a spinning wheel and you don't. I always felt like I must be doing something wrong. Anyway, she had me try out all the spinning wheels at the shop and I fell in love with the Schacht LadyBug. She said,"Sell your wheel and get the one you like." Novel idea! Sometimes it just takes another viewpoint to point out the obvious. That lead me to the third and most important thing to lead to my renewed interest in spinning.

Yesterday I woke up and decided to sell my Lendrum and an old Ashford I've had. I contacted a friend, Lesley :), and we went up to Newport to the annual Maine Registry Spin-In. Joli told us that there would be lots of spinners there and if there was a place to sell a wheel that was it. She was right again! I sold both my Lendrum and Ashford the first hour I was there. So Lesley and I hopped into the car and drove down to Halcyon Yarns in Bath and I bought my wonderful LadyBug.

When I first saw this wheel I was not impressed! That, what I thought then, godawful red plastic drive wheel. But when I sat down and started to spin...oh my gosh! I fell in love. It spins like butta! It's small enough and light enough to take to spinning groups. Not as portable for traveling like my Lendrum but the balance, stability, and ease of use make up for the lack of portability. Another cool thing, (gimmick actually)is that every LadyBug wheel has a tiny little ladybug on it. So you have to look for it. Mine is on the base so I can look at it as I spin :) Ahhhhh, cute!

When we got back to Lesley's we put the wheel together and started spinning. I was not going to be disappointed! The next morning I figured out how to put the Lazy Kate on and so now it's complete. I had a hard time getting the rod collars on. But when I loosened the little screw on each rod collar they both went on simple. I didn't see the little screws on them last night. They are really tiny but they are there. Putting the Lazy Kate on was a bit tricky but I got it and it is now holding two bobbins. I've read online that some people don't like the Lazy Kate. I love it. At first it takes a bit getting use to because it's in front of you rather than over to the side or behind you. But with a little shift in holding and feeding the singles it works great. Definitely glad I got it. Here is a nice, short YouTube review of the wheel.

Wondering about this wheel? Don't take my word for it read this too:

Here is my first skein of Maine Island Sheep carded on my drum carder and spun and plied on my new Lady Bug spinning wheel!

So this is the beginning of my new phase of spinning yarns for projects.


  1. Snow days are the best for spinning. My spinning and my knitting have been in competition for my time today. The white BFL is a dream to spin--just so "well-behaved". I am edging closer to a fine, even strand, which, when plied, should be about like sport weight. I must be able to do this, as most of my knitting is done on sport and fingering weights.

  2. The knitting project I'm starting is a wool/silk sport weight called "Silky Wool,"by Elisabeth Lavvold. My most beloved sweater is made of this fiber, in a pumpkin orange. The new project, in turquoise, will be a 3/4 length-sleeve cardigan, with a lace border at the bottom. Lace requires your attention, I realized again this afternoon, as I was re-knitting one row for the third time. This yarn is so pretty and feels so nice in my hands, that it might just knit itself. Photos later