How to Choose a Wheel for Spinning Art Yarns

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Spinning |


Are you interested in spinning art yarns? Don’t know what wheel to choose? Every spinning wheel is engineered to spin a specific range of yarns. The most popular art yarn spinning wheels have large orifices, huge bobbins and slow ratios. This is the criteria for the wheels that I have included in the list below. Art yarns are known for their extreme bulkiness, crazy add-ins and unique textures.

Title Image: Choosing a Wheel for Spinning Art Yarn

The Ashford Country Spinner is one of the many wheels you can use to spin art yarns.

Here’s an overview of many of the wheels used by the most popular and influential art yarn spinners out there today. Find out which one suits you best!

Note: Prices subject to change, click on the website link for specific photos of these wheels and their current prices including shipping. Prices may vary depending on the specific options you choose for your wheel. For example, the single treadle Lendrum Original is cheaper than the double treadle.

Babe Bulky Production Wheel

Cost: About $400*, no additional accessories required.

Pros: It’s cheap, it’s portable, you can decorate it without feeling guilty.

Cons: It may squeak, it’s not too pretty, and it may not spin as smoothly as a higher quality wheel. Also it’s not the best choice if you also want to spin finer yarns.

Final thoughts: If you’re on a tight budget and need a portable wheel, this wheel may be perfect for you!

Ashford Country Spinner 2

Cost: About $600, no additional accessories required.

Pros: It’s the cheapest art yarn wheel you can get that’s still made out of wood. The hooks are huge and the orifice is over an inch width.

Cons: It’s heavy, not portable, and when the bobbin fills up it takes a lot of strength to keep it spinning. Spinning yarns finer than worsted weight is a challenge, but any bulky yarn will spin like a breeze.

Final thoughts: If you are on a budget and want a solid wooden wheel where you can easily spin anything bulky, this wheel may be perfect for you!

Lendrum Original wheel with Jumbo Ply Head Kit

Cost: About $600 for the wheel and $125 for the plying head.

Pros: It’s probably the most popular art yarn wheel out there. The original wheel comes with a flyer/bobbin for spinning traditional/fine yarns. So when you purchase the Jumbo Ply Head Kit you can spin pretty much everything. This wheel also folds flat for easy transportation, and fits into a suitcase.

Cons: It’s a bit expensive for the spinner on a budget.

Final thoughts: If you want to spin both art yarns and traditional yarns — without spending $1000 — this may be the perfect wheel for you!

SpinOlution Mach III with Art Yarn Flyer Head

Cost: $1095 for the wheel and $250 for the Art Yarn Flyer Head.
If you want a SpinOlution, you can save some money by buying the Hopper wheel for $839 or the Mach II for $729 instead of the newer Mach III model. Both of these wheels can be fitted with the Art Yarn Flyer Head.

Pros: This wheel has the ability to spin both fine and bulky yarn because you can really get it spinning fast. It has breaks to help it stop. The orifice is by passable so you can spin pretty much anything into your yarn without getting stuck.  Instead of hooks it has pegs, which don’t snag your yarns as easily.

Cons: These wheels are extremely heavy (although the Hopper is more lightweight). Because they get so much momentum, they have a break to stop spinning. However, this feature is not on any other wheel and may take some getting used to.  Also the treadles are on the sides of the wheel, and some spinners may find this uncomfortable.

Final thoughts: If you want an American-made wheel with unique design elements where you can spin everything from lace to bulky with tons of power and energy at your treadles, this wheel may be perfect for you!

Majacraft Aura with Overdrive Head

Cost: $1345 for the wheel and $383 for the Overdrive Head.

Pros: Designed by Lexi Boeger, an art yarn spinner since 1999, this wheel was made exactly for spinning art yarns. Now that Majacraft just introduced the Overdrive Head, which can hold more yardage than the original bobbin/flyer, the possibilities are limitless!

Cons: It’s expensive and I have heard that the bobbins can be fragile and crack or break if dropped.

Final Thoughts: If you are lucky enough to have $1700 in your pocket to buy a wheel and you want to spin everything from lace to bulky bulkington, this may be the perfect wheel for you!

Collage of Various Spinning Wheels for Art Yarns

The most popular art yarn spinning wheels have large orifices, huge bobbins, and slow ratios.

Spinning art yarns on a tight budget?

Consider buying your wheel used on Ravelry. There are many “Wheels for sale” groups where you can find a fantastic deal. Many spinners have found their spinning wheels on craigslist or the Spinners and Weavers Housecleaning Pages. So shop around, you never know what you may find! And remember: there is no one perfect wheel. But there is a perfect wheel for you! I recommend test driving art yarn spinning wheels before you buy, so you can see what feels most comfortable to you.

Did you know Craftsy offers online spinning yarn classes? Be sure to check out the catalog today, and check back often, as we’ll soon be adding more to the catalog!

What wheel do you use for spinning art yarns?