Electric Spinner vs. Treadle Wheel

Electric or treadle? Yes!

Spinners ask me about electric wheels all of the time. The good, should I get one? And the bad, why would you have one?

For me it’s not an either/or. I find my treadle wheels and my electric wheel (I have a Hansen, version 1 ) happily coexist in my spinning and my spinning heart.

I use my treadle wheels when I feel like treadling (duh) and when I’m sampling with a lot stops and starts, or when I need to pay closer attention to drafting or plying. I’m not saying that starting and stopping and detailed viewing of your yarn can’t be done on an electric spinner, I just don’t do it that way. I also like to use my treadle wheels for art yarns.

I use my treadle wheels the most, partially because I have more than one and keep different projects on each one. A treadle wheel was my first wheel and what helped me really fall for spinning. I don’t think I’ll ever be without one. But I wouldn’t give up my Hansen either.

I use my electric spinner when I am spinning a lot of yarn, especially the type of yarn I can just get into a groove and go, spinning through a whole season of something. If I’m spinning for a sweater, a couple of pounds of fiber, I put the WooLee Winder on my Hansen, twiddle my knobs until I have my the correct settings for my yarn, find something British with murder on Netflix and I’m off. I usually mark my settings right on the wheel in pencil, or sometimes on a sticker. I also use my Hansen to ply, I love plying on that machine, effortless and steady.

I like to travel with my miniSpinner; I fly with her and I even take her camping. Sometimes I get tired of sitting, my hips, knees and back start to complain. Then I put my spinner on a stool or a counter and spin standing up. That was a revelation for me. When I got achey from sitting and spinning before my spinner, spindle spinning was my only option, and I’m not a very productive spindle spinner.

If you are deciding if you want an electric spinner, try one. Try more than one, there are many on the market now. I know that the SpinOlution Firefly is another very popular electric spinner, but I haven’t tried one yet. You’ll know, just like a treadle wheel, if it’s a wheel for you or not.

The answer to why I have an electric spinner is, of course, variety! Just like I like to spin a whole lot of different yarns, I like to spin on a range of wheels. And i like spinning on it, it feels right.

Please don’t make me pick between the two types of wheels!

Do you spin on an electric spinner and a treadle wheel, or just one?


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7 thoughts on “Electric Spinner vs. Treadle Wheel

  1. Karrie

    I love my Hansen! I have all the flyers. I do have a treadle wheel but it doesn’t get used very often.

  2. Amy

    I have and use both – I had a Hansen, but traded it in for a Questionable Origin Device – plus my Kromski Mazurka and Minstrel. I am right there with you about using them for different purposes and projects. I couldn’t imagine going back to only having one or the other.

    About the Device vs. the Hansen – I loved my Hansen, but when Abby & Chad came out with the QO Device, I knew I had to have it, it fits my personality.

  3. Kurt Siegel

    I love my Lendrum and my Bliss, my hand spindles, and I still like the Electric Eel 4 (a Kickstarter Project), but my Hansen v.1 has become a go-to. I got it primarily for plying, but when I hurt my back, it was the only thing I could use for a couple of months. Standard flyer for singles, Woolee Winder for plying. My wife even took a photo of me plying… and reading Spin Off at the same time.

    Beth at Hansen was incredulous when I said that I can actually spin faster on the Lendrum than on the Hansen, but I think that is because the Lendrum and I bonded almost immediately, while I have to work with other wheels to get to where I feel very comfortable.

    I have come to the same conclusion about standing and spinning with the Hansen – sometimes is the only way to go! Sometimes I even walk 10-15 feet away from the wheel while I spin…

  4. Pat

    I switched to a Hansen a few years ago when my knee wouldn’t allow me to treadle anymore. It took a while to get used to – I spun for years on a bobbin drive wheel. I still miss the pull of my old Louet. I can make wonderful fine yarn on the Hansen.

    I recently got a Firefly that is great for art yarn. However, it doesn’t work well for fine yarn spun long draw – too much vibration. With both spinners I can make any yarn a choose. I really appreciate the options available today that allow me to keep spinning.

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