While you usually may see me with different kinds of spindles on videos and spinning courses, I do spin a lot on spinning wheels too. Today I introduce you to the five spinning wheels I have owned, three of which I still have.
A brand new episode of the Long Thread Podcast has been released, with an interview with me. You can listen to it here.
The first spinning course I took was with a suspended spindle. I spun with it for quite a while, but after some time I wanted to try spinning on a spinning wheel too. On the course I got to practice on an Ashford spinning wheel. I enjoyed it and decided to buy ny own spinning wheel. After some researching I fell for the Kromski Symphony.
Ester the production wheel
My very first spinning wheel is the stationary wheel I still spin with almost daily, my Kromski Symphony Ester. She is steady on the ground and I can spin a wide range of yarns with her.
I remember when I got her. I picked her up at the post office with my bike. My plan was to tie part of the package onto the luggage carrier of the bike and walk the whole construction home. It didn’t work, the luggage strap didn’t reach around the parcel. I tried to balance the package on the bike instead. This worked very well. For about three steps, before the whole arrangement fell apart. A man walked by and asked me several times if I needed help. I politely declined. Had I got myself into this mess the responsibility was mine to get out of it too.
After another few steps I realized I did need help. Somehow I managed to worm my phone out of my pocket with one hand while balancing the package on the bike with the other and call my husband to ask if he could meet me with the trolley part of our shopping trolley. He did, and after a while the wheel got home safely.
That evening I assembled my sweet Ester. The whole livingroom floor was filled with wheel parts together with crumpled up pages of Polish magazines from the 1990’s. In the middle was I, happy as a clam.
After having spun on her practically daily for the past 11 years I know her. I know how she works, I don’t have to think. Still, I learn new things every time I spin with her. I have no intention of exchanging her for a newer model.
Here is a video where I spin on my Kromski Symphony Ester.
Travel wheel Elvis
I did however want to find a spinning wheel I could bring on spinning courses and events. For my 40th birthday my husband bought me a foldable and portable Kromski Sonata. I called her Elvis (this is a word game founded in the Swedish word for spinning wheel – spinnrock – and how she rocks). For a travel wheel she was quite steady and worked very well. The problem with her was the size – she was very large when folded. Since I travel by train I found her too bulky – it was very awkward to take her on the train. I decided to look for a travel wheel that was a little smaller.
You can see me spin on Elvis the Kromski Sonata here.
Travel wheel Esmeralda
I found the Merlin Tree RoadBug, a small travel wheel that also had the option to spin with a quill. The American maker didn’t have a European supplier, but I decided to take the cost of shipping and import tax. I fetched her from the post office with my bike too, and this time it worked perfectly.
The RoadBug, Esmeralda, was indeed smaller and more portable than my Sonata and I did bring her out and about. But we never really got along. I decided to sell both the Sonata and the RoadBug and buy a travel wheel that would be steady, portable and smooth to spin with.
Berta the travel wheel
So, my new travel wheel would have to be a combination of the best parts of the RoadBut and the Sonata. I found it in a Majacraft Little Gem. Quite a pricey piece, but the sales of the first two travel wheels paid for part of it. She is a dream to both spin and travel with – smooth, luxurious, petite, yet sturdy. Eventhough I prefer a classic spinning wheel look, I find the look of the Little Gem very appealing. On a first glance she doesn’t look like a spinning wheel at all, but she is still very slender and well balanced.
Berta is the first wheel that I have named after a real person. The real Berta is my only Swedish great-grandmother. She was a crafts teacher and a skilled weaver. She is also the connection between me and my second cousin and sweet friend Cecilia. You can read about Berta the wheel and Berta the great-grandmother in my article Sliding hooks and textile heritage in the fall 2020 issue Spin-Off magazine.
Here is a video where I spin with my Little Gem Berta.
I haven’t used her much, though, since I haven’t felt the need to bring her on travels. But recently it dawned on me that I can use her at home too, I don’t have to stick to journeys to enjoy her. My plan is to get better acquainted with her this year.
Henrietta the flax wheel
So I had two wheels I was very happy with. A thought had started to emerge in my mind, though. The thought of a separate flax wheel. My carved stick in a parasol stand solution for a distaff didn’t feel that appealing. I had no serious plans of buying one, though. But a chance jumped at me. My aunt Harriet had died and my brother and I were driving to Gothenburg for the funeral. Normally we would have taken the train, but on that particular weekend the connection between Stockholm and Gothenburg was shut down due to maintenance. My Gothenburg friend Anna had posted and add about a wheel she wanted to sell. A petite pre-production Kromski Mazurka. With a distaff. So right in front of me I had a sweet wheel from a trusted maker and with a trusted friend in Gothenburg and a car going right there. I decided the wheel would come home with me.
Anna came to the hotel lobby where we stayed in Gothenburg and I got to try the wheel. I fell for her instantly. My aunt Harriet had been named after her grandmother Henrietta, one of my three Austrian great-grandmothers. But Harriet had secretly always wanted to be called Henrietta, and I think her husband did call her that in a very affectionate way. So in honour of both my aunt and my great-grandmother I named the wheel Henrietta.
At the end of last summer I spun a lot of flax on the balcony with Henrietta. While she had a distaff, it was a little too short for my long flax and a little too close to the orifice. Instead of keeping the distaff in the distaff holder, I held it in my hand. I have asked my wood turner to make me a longer distaff and perhaps I will be able to spin with my new distaff for Henrietta this summer.
You can read more about Henrietta the Kromski Mazurka here. And oh, since my grandmother (Henrietta’s daughter) came from Austria to Sweden at age 14 after WW1 with the Swedish Red Cross and got to stay in Berta’s family, Berta and Henrietta knew each other very well.
If you are a patron (or want to become one) you can hear the story of my Austrian heritage in the August 2022 video postcard.
You can find me in several social media:
- This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
- My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
- I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
- I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
- On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
- You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
- Follow me on Instagram. I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
- Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
- In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
- I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.