Three years ago I bought a kiwi2 spinning wheel from someone who was looking to get rid of theirs. I paid $100+ shipping, and it was probably one of my better fiber hobby purchases. The kiwi2 is a double treadle wheel, so you need two feet to peddle it. After some time, I was having physical issues with this part of it. Some days my feet were in so much pain I just couldn’t bring myself to use the wheel. I started looking into pricing out an e-spinner, and did a bunch of research into the different models available out there. I had a few requirements, but nothing unreasonable. I wanted my e-spinner to be quiet, have a battery, be able to handle lace to worsted weight yarn, and have an OK sized bobbin. Companies like Ashford (who make my kiwi wheel) also have e-spinners, but what I eventually settled on is the Starling, by Daedalus. They’re pretty expensive as far as e-spinners go, but having owned mine for a few weeks now I have to say, it is an absolutely incredible machine. I have nothing but good to say about it. Right now the waiting list is a year, but mine arrived in 6 months (I ordered it in December, and finally received it in July). Still worth it.
I have an entire bin filled with different fibers just waiting to be spun. I bought alpaca fleece (so.much.alpaca), and I have some merino/nylon, and just bits and bobs from subscription crates like Paradise Fibers. The act of spinning (to me at least) is incredibly therapeutic, and I really love knowing that I worked the yarn from fiber to something useable in a project. It takes practice. You have to draft the fiber out into the thickness you’re looking for, and then feed it into the wheel once you’ve applied spin to it. On the e-spinner, applying spin to a strand of fiber is incredibly easy because you manually set the control / speed. On my wheel, I’d have to peddle my feet at the same time as drafting and at the same time as applying that spin. Now I just have to pay attention to my hand movements. It really becomes like second nature, especially if you have nicely prepared fiber.
Lots of people ask if this is cheaper than buying yarn, and honestly – not really. BUT it does take time to spin the yarn and then knit with the yarn, so it’s almost like you’re getting two hobbies for the cost of one. You can also source out some lovely wool for a great price if you’re friends with some Sheppard’s. I prefer to buy natural coloured fleece, roving, and combed top. I do also have a drum carder so I can prepare the fiber myself.
The goal is to get good enough / consistent enough to be able to use my yarn on my circular sock knitting machine (that ancient hand crank machine I have from 1895 that I absolutely adore). It will only take fingering weight yarn, and I’m not quite there yet. I think with a bit more practice on my e-spinner that this will absolutely be an obtainable goal. Then the whole world better watch out, I’ll be cranking socks for everyone. It’s been a while since I wrote about the sock machine, so maybe that one will be next. I’d also love to start streaming as I crank socks, but I need to figure out some sort of camera set up for that one.