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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Yes, my dining room is that color. I actually like it, now.

On the 'Bug

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
That's my own little ladybug - each wheel has one in a different spot.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
LOOK at the size of that orifice!
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I couldn't stop myself - I spun and plied this whole skein in one night. (Cat tail in background for scale - no, actually, it's because I couldn't make him move.)

Those of you who read this blog will remember that I learned to spin in March on a borrowed wheel.

It was an Ashford Kiwi, which is a very nice wheel, and I liked a lot of things about it (double-treadle, scotch tension, not enormous). However, when I started looking into buying a wheel of my own, I kind of knew there was only one in the running.

The Schacht Spindle Company is in Denver, Colorado, and has been in operation there since 1969. I like that Schacht is an American company, but that just kind of tipped my decision over the edge. I would have happily ordered a wheel from Australia, if it were the right one for me.

My affection for the Ladybug started when I saw Judith MacKenzie use one in The Gentle Art of Plying DVD. Affection deepened into obsession when I got to spin on one myself at TNNA in June.

I finally ordered one and it arrived four days ago. Here's what I love about it:

- It's much more quiet than the Kiwi, although this might speak more to the relative age/condition of the two wheels. It's not entirely fair to compare a brand-new wheel to a used one, I think.

- The ladybug weighs 1.5 pounds more than the Kiwi (not a problem, to me) but it has handles on it, so it's easy to move around. With the Kiwi, I was constantly knocking the flyer off whenever I tried to move it, which wasn't great for the wheel, my yarn, or my piece of mind. Especially since I ended up chasing spinning wheel parts around parking lots more than once.

- I have more options for ratios with the Ladybug. With the added high-speed and low-speed whorls, I will have four different sets of ratios, the highest being higher than possible with the Kiwi. The Kiwi only has three sets of possible ratios, and that brings me to my biggest factor.

- I can use the same drive band for all of the Ladybug whorls. With the Kiwi, you need different bands for each set of whorls. This is inconvenient because you have to store/sort each set with its band. It's not the end of the world, but it was one of the reasons I didn't want a Kiwi for my "forever" wheel.

- Also, I can change ratios within the same set of whorls (spinning wheel whorls come in sets of two, and are attached to each other) very easily with the Ladybug. On the Kiwi, you pretty much have to stand up, get behind the wheel, and move the drive band from one groove on the drive wheel to another to change ratios, even within the same set of whorls. If you don't do this, the wheel will spin, but the drive band tends to pop off after a bit.

- I like the way the scotch tension is set up on the wheel. It's easy to adjust and seems consistent.

- I bought the Bulky Flyer Head (sometimes called the Plying Head) for the Ladybug, since I really liked having one on the Kiwi. Some people keep Kiwis around just for plying, since this flyer head is so large. The Ladybug's bulky flyer is even BIGGER than the Kiwi one, and the orifice is gigantic - about the size of a quarter. I don't spin crazy art yarns now, but I might want to some day, and an orifice that size really helps increase my options in that area.

- It's adorable. I mean, really. If I'm going to have something take up space in my heart and my home, I like it even more if it's cute.