Spinning Yarns – the Mach II Spinning Wheel: a Newbie’s Review
After a drive out to Tucson and back, I settled on the Mach II spinning wheel. It’s worth mentioning that Grandma’s Spinning Wheel in Tucson was the only place who had a sample on site for me to try out. What a fun place that was – the walls are lined with wood buckets full of giant balls of rainbow-colored roving and top, with giant batts of hand-carded selections to choose from in the middle of the room. There are 14 wheels in the room and it is a free-for-all for anyone who wants to try out spinning.
The Mach II comes standard with the buyer’s choice of the average sized flyer or the jumbo “art yarn” flyer – I chose the jumbo flyer. I may live in Phoenix, but I would wear a t-shirt with a thick funky scarf just to have the chance to wear chunky yarn. The thicker, the fluffier and puffier the better! So my spinning wheel is optimized for folks like me, making it a terrific tool. The other benefit is that while a standard flyer will most definitely limit your ability to make chunky yarns, the jumbo flyer does not limit your ability to make thin yarns. Also, I discovered that other spinning wheels came standard with an average sized flyer, with jumbo flyers only offered as add-on accessories, which would have cornered me into spending another $150+. The bobbins are already very large – not as giant as the ones on Ashford Country wheels, but large enough that I can spin up 4 ounces of very thick, plied yarn on one bobbin without having to manually wind the thing, interrupting the flow of spinning.
Also, speaking of bobbins, the wheel comes with three bobbins included. There are two posts on the upper right and left side of the wheel behind the bobbin and they are there specifically to hold your extra bobbins. They are not intended to be used as lazy kates, but I’ve been able to use them that way with only minimal difficulty to ply my thick yarns.
The Mach II comes with spinning ratios varying from 1:3 to 1:21. This means that the bobbin, which holds the yarn, will spin 3 times for every rotation of the very large spinning wheel below it on the 1:3 ratio. So far, I haven’t used any ratios faster than the 1:3 or the 1:5, because I am making chunky yarn. I admire this wheel so much because I love its performance at the ratios I use it at, and it feels like a BMW 7 series that I’ve only driven in the first two gears. I think of it like a BMW 7 series because it is kind of a boat compared to many wheels – it weighs 22 pounds and seems humongous compared to a compact portable like the Ashford Joy. Also, it has a very wide stance – the user can treadle with one foot or both feet, and unlike other wheels, if treadling with two feet, the user isn’t required to sit with their feet and knees together because the treadles are a good 18 inches or so apart.
Ultimately, it’s also pretty to look at – the overall effect of this birch wood wheel is that it sits in your room like eye candy. I love looking at natural wood grain and the bonus is that I use it to make yarn that looks like candy.
I blow through fiber so quickly. I can’t wait to make more!
Ultimately, even though it’s large, it fits in my car, and I paid $20 to get a pull strap on the back and hardy wheels attached to the back. With these, I can tilt it back and push it around or drag it behind me, similar to moving around a piece of carry-on luggage.
Now all I need to do is score one of those baby seats that travels behind a bicycle and I can ride it around town behind my bike this Fall! Hmmm…
~ by kittyknitter on August 24, 2009.