I’ve already waxed poetic on my love for my spinning wheel, but what are the pros and cons of owning the Kromski Prelude? Well, not surprisingly, it depends on who you are as a spinner. I’ve written at length about choosing your first wheel. And it remains true that the things that make this wheel great for me would seriously trip up other spinners. So I guess I’m saying my pros and cons are not your pros and cons.
Pros: There are many. As a travel wheel, it is second only to the wheels that actually fold up and fit in a backpack. That’s important to me, since I take it to demonstrations, shows, and the ranch. It fits in the backseat, and doesn’t consume an enormous portion of my apartment.
I also like that it is a single drive wheel. It only has one drive band (one band that goes from wheel to flyer). The tension is provided by a “Scotch brake”, a little knob you turn that tightens a spring. Double drive wheels use a second drive band to control how fast the yarn winds on, and they are persnickety little pains to get adjusted correctly. This may be very me-specific, but I also like that I can take the bobbin off the wheel without messing with the tension in the drive band. I take bobbins off to weigh them, and I do it often.
Finally, it’s pretty. I like to look at it, and considering how much time I spend in front of it, that’s important.
Cons: It’s small. That’s mostly a pro, but it also means that it takes me much longer to spin a thin single, or even to ply two thin singles. Thinner yarn requires more twist to hold together, and smaller wheels have less spins for each time you press down on the treadle. It is great for plying with beads, since I have to slow down to juggle the two singles, the thread, and the beads on the thread. So it’s more of an art yarn kind of wheel, even though my personality tends more towards thin and even yarns. They say opposites attract…
The other thing that bothers me about my wheel is the positioning of the hooks on the flier. Many wheels have hooks along both arms of one side of the flier. So the flier has a front and a back, the front has hooks on both arms. This means there is always one arm’s worth of hooks no matter which direction you are turning the wheel, so both plying and spinning are equally easy. My wheel has hooks on one arm on each side. And it’s the same arm. So spinning is easy, but plying is actually against the direction of the hooks, which means the bobbin doesn’t fill as evenly. I really hate that, for the same reason I have trouble making thick and thin yarn. Unevenness is an affront to my ordered personality :).
Those are actually the only cons I can think of, but the small size of the wheel has become an increasingly bigger problem recently. I’m even considering purchasing another wheel. Then I could have two, one for art yarn and the other for thin yarns. It’d be best to get another Kromski, because then I could reuse bobbins and other parts. But all the other Kromskis are double drive and I HATE double drive wheels. It’s a bit of an impasse.
That was a particularly technical and lingo laden post, so I apologize to the non-spinners. If you have questions, let me know.