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?


(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

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.

Comments are closed.