View Full Version : beginner having trouble with wheel

07-23-2008, 08:30 PM
I just learned how to spin & ply during a spinning demonstration I saw on Sunday. Now I'm at home with my wheel, which I didn't have with me, and I can't get started.

I have a new Louet Victoria, and I can't seem to get what I'm spinning to wind onto the bobbin, even when I increase the tension.

Another thing, which doesn't help, is that I cannot stand any kind of wool. It makes my hands very itchy, even for hours after I've touched it. I got some alpaca to start with, which isn't easy to draft, since its very sticky.

Help please.

07-23-2008, 10:59 PM

Mullerslanefarm should be around soon to help you out. She has helped me a lot. In the meantime, put your fiber aside and use some cheap already spun acrylic yarn to get the yarn to wind on the bobbin. Using the yarn allows you to relax and get the hang of how your wheel works. You may only have to do this for a couple of minutes to learn a lot.

Anyway when I got my wheel, it I had the same problem. I learned that I had to oil where the flier sits at both ends. I think your Louet has synthetic parts there, right? Do you have powdery stuff for "lubiricating" there? Next, try releasing the tension on the drive band so it's super loose. Holding the cheap yarn loosely in your hand, begin to treddle and increase the tension just until it spins the flier. Keep increasing the tension just until it takes up on the bobbin.

Treddling slowly will help you study the situation. Using the yarn will help you feel like you are not wasting your precious fiber. Your alpaca is sticky? Have you tried pre-drafting it? I always pre-draft. It allows me to concentrate on my spinning "technique." One less thing to do at the same time as the other 15 things I am trying to make happen with the fiber and wheel.

I hope this gives you something to work on until Mullerslanefarm comes along with good advice for you. :wink:

07-24-2008, 08:58 AM
I'm not familiar with the Victoria, so i went on a search. Louet's are generally bobbin leads but I see the Victoria is a flyer lead.

Abby gives a wonderful review: http://www.abbysyarns.com/wordpress/?p=26

There really isn't anything to add that Susan hasn't already mentioned.

1. Practice treadling without any fiber. You don't want the wheel going fast, just turning. You want to be able to control the wheel so that you can start, treadle, stop, treadle in the other direction. don't worry if you have to use your hand to start the wheel. It all depends on where you stop treadling how easy it is to get going again.

2. Tie on cheap acrylic yarn (like Susan suggested). This will get you familiar with fiber going through your hands and help prevent the 'death grip' on the fiber. It also gets you familiar with the tensioning of the drive band and the scotch tension band.

other tips that might help with adjusting.
The Victoria has a stretchy drive band. You don't want this tight on the wheel/flyer. Just tight enough so it doesn't slip.

With the scotch tension, you want to start this at with no tension what so ever and adjust a tiny bit (I'm talking 1/8"-1/4") at a time, until the yarn winds on.

I've never had alpaca that was sticky. It does not contain lanolin. Is this roving or locks? Where did you get it?

If you're having a hard time drafting, move your hands farther apart (5"-6") and gently tug so the fibers slip past each other. If you're holding your hands too close together, you'll be holding on to both ends of the longer staple and they won't be able to slip.

Susan - you are way too kind. I am smiling because of your words.

Utube -
spinning on a Victoria

Setting up a Victoria:

07-24-2008, 06:40 PM

I have pre-drafted, and its still really sticky. Its grey alpaca roving that I got from Halcyon Yarn.

I have some bulky wool/acrylic I can experiment with.

Well, I got the yarn I have to wind onto the bobbin, but it wouldn't work when I when to try to spin the roving I have. I'm so fed up with it. I've been trying every night for a week to get it to work, and it doesn't.

From now on, I'm going to stick to knitting.

07-24-2008, 08:51 PM
A few other beginner spinner comments to add:
You said you were spinning alpaca? I have found that even when I knit with alpaca, it is quite sticky and a bit unforgiving in the frogging dept. Maybe start with some nicely done top wool? that is what I started with and I couldn't be happier. It has a bit of stickiness, but a nice long draft fiber so I don't lose the end too much. I get mine from http://www.riverwindsfarm.com/index_files/Page634.html
Also, remember to oil. it might seem like you just did it 2 days ago, but it helps. Oil the wheel, and then sit and spin. Adjust the tension after you oil.
I can't tell you how many hours I have spend adjusting the tension to get it just right. Once I got it I was afraid to move the wheel in case I lost it. But I have found that wheel spinning is kinda like riding a bike. Once you get it, you got it. there may be some minor adjustments, but you'll be fine.

07-25-2008, 08:49 AM
Don't give up! The first month of spinning is hard as you adjust to the wheel

07-27-2008, 03:14 PM
Aww. I'm sorry you are having so much frustration. If you are getting the already-spun-yarn to wind on to the bobbin, it may be the fiber you are working with. Hmmm :?? You are allergic to wool (sheep?) but not alpaca,eh? I spun some top combed baby alpaca (http://www.alpacawithatwist.com/products.htm#) and it was so slippery I could hardly hang on to the stuff. It was quite challenging for me as a beginner.

Have you pulled out a few (5) fibers to see how long the staple is? That will help you know how far apart/close your hands need to be. Also, I recently learned that fibers draft easier from one end or the other. It was suggested to draft from each end to find out. (In a recent experiment, I couldn't tell a difference. :teehee: Maybe it was the fiber I was using.)

It is a challenge to learn to spin on a wheel because there are so many variables and no real instructions. When I got my wheel put together I just sat and looked at it! My husband asked if I wasn't going to try it out and I said that I had not one clue what to do with it! After lots of help here (Mullerslanefarm :hug:) I finally got some singles wound on. When I had spun about 20 ounces over several weeks, I took a long break from spinning to finish some knitting. I recently went back to the wheel and I was nervous that the learning curve would begin all over again. But, like Mulderknitter says, it was like riding a bike. I sat down and spun better than ever. I think I am making progress and will some day have a spec of control over the the whold deal and be able to produce a yarn I have in mind.

You WILL get this. We have all been right where you are now.

06-07-2009, 09:30 PM
Well, I tried spinning again tonight. Was able to 'spin' the cheap yarn I have. Went well until I decided to try some of the roving. Couldn't get it to feed in again. So I decided to quit for the night. Going to leave my wheel set up.

Is this a good wheel for a beginner, or are there others that would be easier? My goal is to be able to spin alpaca, since we have some.

06-08-2009, 08:01 AM
Alpaca shouldn't be 'sticky' since there is no lanolin. Alpaca is generally slippery, not sticky.
When you were 'spinning' the cheap yarn, you were probably letting it flow through your hands? With the roving, be sure you adjust the brake band just a tiny bit and be sure you loosen your grip on the yarn you just made to give it a chance to feed in!

06-08-2009, 11:21 PM
Well, I had some success tonight!!

I took one of the white huacaya fleeces I have and used that. It went pretty well, some issues with consistency of the yarn and spinning it too much, to the point of snapping. With the way I have things set up, I seem to be spinning quite thin yarn. The fleece I'm using is quite fine and belongs to an alpaca that won quite a few shows when he was younger. Micron is probably under 25.

06-12-2009, 10:25 AM
To keep that softness, you'll want to put a lot of loft in your yarn. Too much twist will negate the loft of the yarn. You can spin thin without a lot of twist on fibers with long locks. You only want enough twist to hold the fibers together.
Are you spinning from the locks, roving, clouds or top?

06-12-2009, 09:56 PM
I'm spinning from a skirted fleece.

06-13-2009, 12:25 AM
Okay, so you're spinning from the lock. As I said in the other thread, try treadling slower.... much, much slower. And you might try to increase the take up in your bobbin