How Many Treadles Do You Like on a Spinning Wheel?

In my first spinning class, the instructor had a variety of wheels for the class to try. When it came time to buy my own wheel, I thought I had a good sense of what I wanted and didn’t want from a wheel. I bought a used double-treadle wheel. The rhythm of both feet operating the wheel just felt right to me. Recently, I got a chance to sit at a Rio Grande wheel at Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico. I have developed a strong case of spinning lust for that single-treadle quill wheel . . . sigh.

Amy Tyler’s article “Ask a Spinning Teacher: Wheel configuration” in Spin Off Winter 2017 got me wondering, how many treadles do others like on a spinning wheel? So I asked around. Here’s what spinners around Interweave said . . .

Anne (Spin Off Editor): “I have a double-treadle wheel for what may be a silly reason: I used to be a runner with recurring shin splints, and I wanted to be sure that I used both legs the same amount to prevent repetitive strain injuries in only one leg! I had the idea that spinning would work the muscles on the fronts of my shins, and I wanted to avoid having one be tighter than the other.”

Linda Ligon (Interweave Founder): “I most often use my single-treadle wheel; I usually treadle with one foot, but sometimes with both, since the treadle has generous dimensions. I like being able to choose, because I have one seriously crummy knee, and sometimes it wants to slack off. Other times it appreciates the exercise.”

Deb Gerish (Love of Knitting Editor): “The wheels I use are all double-treadles, mostly because DTs were the hot new thing when I started spinning. These three wheels are also castle-style wheels, which would look unbalanced with only one treadle. Though I have a pretty Saxony wheel (a reproduction of a nineteenth-century Scottish parlor wheel) that’s a single-treadle, I never use it. My e-spinner has no treadles.”

Laura Hulslander (Knitting Project Editor): “I prefer a two-treadle wheel, mostly because I don’t have a lot of experience with single-treadles. When I was shopping for my wheel, the local spinning shop mostly had double-treadle wheels. I tried one of the single-treadles, and could not make it go. I’m sure other wheels are easier to get started, but that settled it for me—two treadles are better than one. I also like the symmetry of having two treadles. I’m never sure what to do with my lazy foot when it’s not helping spin!”

Debbie Held (Spin Off Contributor): “I spin using two main wheels—one small and portable, the other more of my ‘home base’ wheel. Both are double treadle, and that is merely because I was more interested in the function of the wheels I was shopping for than with whether they were single or double treadle. It was a matter of getting the best deal for the wheel(s) I wanted at that time. I must admit that I currently have a single-treadle wheel on layaway with a friend from my spinning guild. This wheel is nothing like my other wheels in any way, and the fact that it was a single treadle sealed the deal for me. I find the look and the idea of spinning with the one (in this case wide) treadle to be so charming, and I’m curious to experience for myself what all the fuss is about!”

So, dear reader, how many treadles do you like on your spinning wheel?

Featured Image: Spinning wheels left to right: Kromski Interlude, Lendrum DT, Schacht Ladybug, and Ashford Traditional. Photo by Donald Scott.

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