Crystal Palace Yarns   Free Patterns    Indie Patterns   Search this Site   Shop List   Yarn Cards   What's New?  

The Double Treadle Kit

A Discussion on Pros and Cons of Adding the Ashford Double Treadle Kit to your Traditional or Traveller Wheel

Collected Wisdom from the Ashford-Spinners List

From:  (Nancy)

The current trend seems to be the double treadle right now. There are both advantages and disadvantages. If it is your only wheel and you injure your foot or knee, you are without the use of a wheel. (I learned this the hard way after spraining my knee--fortunately, I had another wheel--and another good knee.:) ). If a wheel is easy to treadle, it is easy to treadle whether it is a single or a double. Test a wheel first before buying. What is comfortable for one spinner won't necessarily be comfortable for another.

From: (Verne)

A true double treadle give a very smooth revolution to the drive wheel, since there are two thrusts to every revolution of the wheel. It is like a two cylinder gasoline engine. One foot is giving thrust to the wheel, while the other is coasting. I am certain that if one has more than one wheel that one will easily adjust to shifting from one to the other.

From: (Ruth)

I tried a double treadle wheel for about 20 minutes at the last SOAR. At first I thought it was cool, but soon found my left leg getting very tired, and finally it was just going up and down for the ride. Perhaps I should retrofit my Traveller just to get my other leg in shape! But that's the only reason I would do it. I found it quite exhausting, whereas I can spin for hours with my right leg quite happily. Also, in spinning with two legs you must sit square to the treadle. Maybe that's not how I want to be in front of the orifice all the time. I just didn't feel I had as much flexibility. For example, the long draw was a pain because I felt awkward stretching back.


I had the same exact problem with the double treadle! I can sit and spin comfortable enough as long as I was pretty much at the center, but when plying, I had not realized that I sit at an angle, which the double-treadle could not accommodate. I like to change my position and even my leg when treadling for long periods of time. Long draw was a problem for me too.

From: (Mary)

I've just returned from the Woolcrafts Festival in Taranaki, here in New Zealand. I also stopped by the Ashford stand to buy one of the new tensioned Lazy Kates, and was tempted into sitting down to try a Traditional wheel fitted with double treadles and the new super-fast lace flyer. Honestly, I've never felt so much in control of a wheel in my life! People have been commenting that double treadles don't give them the flexibility they need for a long draw or for plying. I think it depends on your style of spinning. The slightly twisted way one tends to sit with a single treadle is murder for some people's backs and hips, though I've never found it a problem. I guess the best advice, as always, is to try thoroughly before you buy, and choose what suits you.

From: (Amanda)

I am of the same opinion as Ruth. I do not sit squarely up to the wheel, I sit at an angle so that I can draft with my left hand as far away from the orifice as possible. A double-treadle is very restricting in that respect. It would be great if all you do is short draw and worsted spinning, but for long draw I don't think so. I spend hours trying to teach my students to have an open mind about where they sit, how they draft, so that a wide variety of spinning techniques are available to them and they can switch between short, medium, long draw, spinning from the fold at will. To restrict oneself to sitting right in front of the wheel does not allow the full range of movement you get when you sit at a slight angle. This is not to say that the double treadle is not good, just different and useful for some people and some types of spinning - but not all types of spinning. However, I will carry the double treadle in my shop and have it available to anyone who wants it. The beauty of life is the ever changing variety and the double treadle is a personal choice of what one is comfortable with. And, it's not for everyone!

From: (Anne)

I thought I would just add a few thoughts I had on the double treadle discussion. Some of the orifice types make it difficult to spin at an angle to the orifice. I mean the pig's tail one ( a curly wire instead of an orifice), and the delta orifice (the one with a inverted V wire loop instead of an orifice). They do make threading quick and easy but if you spin at all off centre with these two types, you get a sort of speed wobble. It is rather like spinning on a great wheel when you get off the point of the spindle.

I know you can spin the long draw by coming directly out from the orifice, and then making the wool bend at a sharp right angle to the right or left, but I haven't mastered this technique yet. I use the 'Playing the violin ' method for woolen spinning.

If I am doing hours of spinning I like to vary my treadling foot, from right to left, and I wriggle around lots to avoid staying in one position. I have found most of the double treadle wheels I have used very easy to treadle, but I have not yet used them for days at a time. I guess it is just what you are used to.

From: (Charlie)

In response to Sandy who would like to have a wheel single or double treadle on demand . . . All of the double treadles that I have seen can be operated very easily with just one foot. With a double treadle machine you can use either foot or both. When its necessary to sit off to the side for plying or long draw just use one foot on the closest treadle.

From: (Nancy)

I have a double treadle installed on my Traveller! Please thank the Ashfords for their thoughtfulness in composing the Double Treadle Kit; not only did they add a new hub pin and a nail to drive it in/out with, they also included a new drive band/cord. Also - please, please, thank them for the template. I *did* need it. I *love* the double treadle! I'd recommend it to anyone. Now my flyer is REALLY flying.

From: (Jeanne)

Just had my Traditional converted to a double treadle! Wow! what a difference. I really like the smooth treadling and being able to start the wheel without using my hand. Couple that with my new high speed whorl and I can really fly (no pun intended)!

From: (Annette)

We've just returned from our trip Stateside, and my *big* purchase was the double treadle conversion for my Traveller. I really had a lot of trepidation about this purchase. How did I know if I would like a double treadle? Would my hip get even sorer? If this happened would the store take it back? Etc. ad nauseum. Well, I just love it. My DH managed to put it together for me (bless him) and I was treadling away within very short order.


My double treadle developed a regular howl during class with Margaret Stove at the Bemidji rendezvous last September. Everyone in the class tried to silence it. Luckily, I had a class with Patsy Z that evening. She up-ended my wheel and worked in a milky white oil (silicon, I think - the stuff you can get at bicycle shops) all over the hinges. She made sure to get the oil in every hinge opening.

From: (Carol)

First, you need to figure out which part of the double treadle is squeaking. If it's the pins that are inserted into the legs, you can use oil or buy some powdered teflon, which should be available at any good hobby store -- I found my little bottle at a shop specializing in model trains! -- and make sure you squirt it down well around the pins. If it's the hinge on the one treadle (which was what it was on mine), turn your wheel over and run a little oil on both hinge pins. Mine used to squeal like a banshee when I was treadling slowly, but doesn't anymore!

From: (Val)

I have just upgraded mine and I find that it is definitely an improvement on a wheel that I thought could not be improved upon. I particularly like the fact that I can start and stop the wheel with my feet and I can spin longer without getting tired.


Three cheers for Ashford and their upgraded double treadle for the Traveller. I just installed mine two weeks ago...and to say that I'm amazed is putting it mildly. When I first started looking at spinning wheels 2 years ago, I thought that a double treadle would be too much like work - riding a bicycle...boy was I wrong. I would trade a lot of things before I would trade my Traveller.

From: (Kate)

I recently put the double treadle upgrade on my Ashford Traditional. I am very happy with the wonderful ease of spinning. I think it would make anything that required lots of work, like plying or the jumbo flyer, much easier. The double treadle really reduces fatigue and that sort of twisted feeling from stomping with your right foot for too long.


I highly recommend the double treadle. It is easy to put on, and makes your spinning much more natural and even, *especially* for the high-speed setup. You can email me directly if you have any specific questions.

From: (Robin)

I got some good advice here about the double treadle for my Traveller. I am in heaven - I love the double treadle! I can't believe the difference it has made in my control of the wheel, and in the consistency of my yarn.

From: (Jackie)

I have owned and loved an Ashford Traditional for about 30 years. I just recently added the Double Treadle from a kit and now I am more in love with it than ever!

Back to Collected Wisdom Page

copyright 1998 Straw Into Gold, Berkeley, CA
URL of this page is:

Crystal Palace Yarns   Free Patterns    Indie Patterns   Search this Site   Shop List   Yarn Cards   What's New?