1) INSTINCT–Ultimately I bought the wheel I wanted. Don’t ignore your leanings. If you favor one brand, or one type, over another, pay attention.
2) EXPERIENCE–I listened to people who said, “Try as many as you can,” but I only tried two different wheels. (I liked both the wheels I tried.) However, I saw several in action at a retreat I attended, and talked to their owners–beginners through experienced spinners. (Note: EVERYONE was happy with the wheel they purchased and I saw almost all the wheels I was considering.) One gal tried three wheels at the retreat and saw no significant difference between them. I was reluctant to ask people to let me use their wheels–I would hesitate to let someone else use mine, for one thing, but also, they had work in progress on their wheels and after class we all wanted to pack up and go back to our hotel rooms. So . . .
3) INTERNET VIDEOS and ARTICLES–I watched lots of videos and read articles and books. The more I learned about spinning wheels, the more I understood. The biggest consideration seemed to be single-drive or double-drive. (I knew I wanted two treadles.) One lady who bought the double-drive Schacht Matchless (price is about $1100) said she bought it because she wanted options–the Matchless can be used as a single-drive as well. When she said she always uses it as a single-drive it seemed pointless to me to have paid all that money.
4) Does it come assembled?
5) Can you travel with it?
6) Is there support available?
7) Can you easily get parts?
I felt weirdly pressured to buy the Schacht Matchless, but I didn’t want to. It was the first (and third) wheel I tried. I don’t understand the double-drive difference yet–I’m a beginner and I want to get started practicing. Besides, to be honest, I don’t like the name Schacht. When I first saw it I had no idea how to pronounce it, and kept saying it wrong. (It sounds exactly like “shacked.”) While Kromski Sonata is a lovely name, its price kicked it out of the running (although the carrying bag was definitely enticing).
I decided to go with the Lendrum Original. When I used it, I felt like a warm knife in cool butter. I felt relaxed and comfortable when I used it.
The look of the tilted wheel put me off at first, but it didn’t affect performance and I decided to like its unconventionality. It’s easy to fold down and travel with, though one of the heavier, larger travel models. It comes assembled and finished, so I don’t have to think about doing it myself and forever being sorry I got one that needs finishing. It’s easy to find online help and parts for. And the name reminds me of a word from Watership Down (though, sadly, the lendri are enemies of the rabbits).
I ordered mine last night, at 11:00 P.M. MDT, from The Woolery because they offered me a $25 gift certificate and I was making other purchases from them that Paradise Fibers didn’t have. Today I received this email notice: