Jillian’s Spinning: A Wheel Refreshed

I have had my Schacht Matchless for a long time, longer than I’ve had both my kids and almost longer than I’ve had my husband, almost 20 years.

Here we are in 2008:

My Matchless
My Matchless

This wheel has a special place in my heart. She was the first wheel I knew I wanted with that singular need I get when I’m locked onto a wheel. My first wheel I chose because it was the only one I could afford. My Matchless was my second wheel and I was wild about her. She was way out of my league in relation to my bank balance and spinning skill. I was still a terrified beginner when I first saw her.

I put her on layaway for six months and waited impatiently, spinning on my other wheel. When I finally got her home, I spun the ugliest most beautiful yarn. I had no idea how to adjust her or even what all the knobs were for, but I spun on her. I loved her. She was patient and waited for me to catch up. Maggie Casey taught me how to use her with joy at an Estes Park Wool Market.

She traveled all over the country as I moved and had kids. She sat in the basement for a few years when I didn’t spin and was sure I was never going to spin again. But she was waiting and ready to go the day I woke up and knew I needed to spin again.

A few years ago she started not working quite right. The treadles swayed, the flyer was flying a little wonky. I kept spinning on her until I just couldn’t anymore. My friendly Schacht expert would shore her up, until she just couldn’t anymore. “You have to send her in”, she said. I frowned. I still spun on her sometimes with my toes gripping the edges of the treadles like a monkey to keep them from swaying or rubbing. I didn’t want to send her away. I kind of needed her to sit in the corner and cheer me on in all of my spinning work, whether I spun on her or not. She was with me  when I worked at Interweave, when I helped Amy start and then took over Knittyspin, when I started teaching spinning classes, when I wrote for PLY Magazine and Spin Off, when I got my book deal and wrote my manuscript.

It’s time now for me to do a lot of spinning, samples and projects for my book. I want to spin them on her, so I sent her in. Back to Schacht to get fixed and refreshed. It didn’t take long, maybe a month, but I never put another wheel in her spot in my house while she was gone.

She came back spinning smooth and easy, with a few new parts that are fresh maple and look lovely against her old maple.

My new old wheel
My new old wheel

I’m so glad I sent her in and that the folks at Schacht took such great care of her. I’ve got a lot of spinning scheduled and a lot more planned and I don’t want to do it without her!


Do you have a wheel you are especially attached to?


(542 Posts)

Jillian is the​ author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor​ of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts. She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing. Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com

5 thoughts on “Jillian’s Spinning: A Wheel Refreshed

  1. Kristen Smith

    ahhh the love for a first wheel! I got my dream wheel to begin with thanks to a huge dose of luck. And like you she is my baby! I’m actually a potter by trade, but when I need to relax, unwind hehe, and I’m dyeing for a bit of instant gratification I lovingly smile while treading away!! Glad you baby is refreshed and back home!

  2. Katie

    My matchless is 20 years old as well, luckily for me it’s still running smoothly as sending it back if you’re in the UK isn’t an option…

  3. Libby Patterson

    I was about to give up spinning; I had an Ashford traditional and just couldn’t manage the Scotch tension. My mother and I visited a shop that was going out of business and I sat at the Schacht just to try it; within minutes I had fallen deeply in love. Mom, the eternal enabler, bought it for me. That was 25 years ago. She’s gone now, but I think of her every time I sit at the wheel.

  4. Regina

    I also have a Schacht Matchless that I love (and I bought it from Beth Smith, incidentally). I’m having some problems with the treadles, which are rubbing together just below the footman. I wrote to the nice folks at Schacht, who suggested that I call when I’m sitting at the wheel, but I have yet to find time to do that. I have to, though: I haven’t touched the wheel in a few months, and now that my spinning mojo seems to be back, I hate not being able to spin.

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