From: email@example.com (Leslie)
I have an Ashford Traditional
which I ordered in kit form in Spring 1997. When it arrived in about a million pieces I
panicked, having absolutely no wood-finishing experience, but I finished it and put it
together all by my lonesome and have been feeling pretty proud of myself. The directions
that come with the kit are pretty darn good IMHO.
One very helpful article in Spin-Off for
upgrading and maintaining your Ashford wheels is in the Summer 1995 Spin-Off, page 92,
"Making the most of your spinning wheel: The Ashford Traditional." On page 101
is the article "Fine-tuning the Ashford Traditional." This is a great help when
my wheel is being, shall we say, finicky.
A Brief Run-Through of Wheel
Treadle: - Position your foot on it in such a
way that your heel will be at or near the back edge while treadling. It should require
only moderate pressure of your toes and ball of foot to get the drive wheel moving. When
trying to stop or reverse, use a rapidly alternating heel and toe pressure to stop
- Footman: the wooden stick that is attached
with a piece of flexible leather to the treadle at one end and with nuts and bolt at the
other end, to the
- Crankshaft: the bent piece of metal that has a
flattened tip and a hole to accommodate the bolt end coming from the footman. You can call
it the axle crank because it is an extension of the
- Axle: the metal bar that runs through the hub
- Drive Wheel: the largest part of what is
essentially a system of pulleys. Note grooved circumference which should have finely
braided (usually cotton, sometimes linen) cord running from the drive wheel to the
- Flyer Pulley: the grooved "whorl" on
the "horseshoe-shaped" or "U-shaped" piece of wood that has little
hooks on one or both arms. This is the
- Flyer: serves to wind the yarn that is being
twisted onto the
- Bobbin: the "spool" that is mounted
onto the spindle shaft of the flyer. (Note that on older model Traditionals, you may have
to file the inside curves of the flyer just a tad deeper in order that the flyer can
accommodate the later-made bobbins, which are sometimes just a fraction of an inch too
wide.) You don't want the bobbin rubbing any surfaces other than the spindle shaft (very
lightly) and the
- Scotch Tensioner: Also called the "bobbin
brake" or Scotch Brake, it's a piece of what looks like heavy fishing monofilament
(and, in my case is just that) with either a tiny metal spring or a heavy rubber band
attached to one end. The Scotch tensioner is laid into the pulley groove in the larger end
of the bobbin and is attached at both ends to the
- Mother-of-All: the tiltable "table"
or platform onto which are fitted two
- Maidens: two uprights (posts)
which are press-fitted into the mother-of-all and can be swiveled in their seats in order
to have the flyer and bobbin assembly mounted into the leather bearings. Note that one
bearing has a larger opening to accomodate the "orifice" end of the flyer. The
other bearing takes the spindle shaft. Note that this end of the mother-of-all has a knob
press-fitted into its side and that the scotch tensioner extends from this knob over the
bobbin pulley and fastens onto a small hook screwed onto the M-o-A's side opposite the
- Drive Tensioner: Is the knob that is screwed
into the top surface of the M-o-A. This knob tilts the entire M-o-A in order to apply
tension to the drive band.
The Rear Maiden Slot
Re the rear maiden on the traditional -- mine
does have the slot, but I wonder everytime I remove the bobbin if I am doing damage -- or
are they meant to take some torking around (as they appear to be made out of nylon). I
always worry that somehow the turning/twisting/lifting action to remove the bobbin somehow
must not be good for it and I wonder if I'm doing it properly. How is the proper way to
remove the bobbin?
That's a tough
piece of nylon; you aren't going to hurt it. I tend to sort of hold the wood part with my
hand while my fingers push straight up on the flyer shaft to pop it out of the slot. Also,
should the "worst" happen and it broke (which I don't think I've ever heard of
happening) it is an inexpensive part to replace. You could use a sharp knife and trim the
inside rim of the slot to smooth it if it is rough and very slightly enlarge it.
My first wheel (which I still have) is an
Ashford Traditional. It was purchased in a kit form and I assembled it. (The directions
are very easy to follow btw.) I subsequently acquired the double-drive flyer and had Alden
Amos do what he refers to as a 'tune up'. He balances the bobbins and what not. If you are
contemplating this, check with Alden. There is a higher charge if he has to do this on an
assembled wheel. So, as one woman said, who was spinning on my Ashford, "This isn't
'stock' is it?" I still recommend the Ashford Traditional as the best wheel to get
when you are starting out. It is an easy wheel to use and one that most spinners are
Shipping Your Wheel
the main wheel parts apart to ship and move it. You do NOT want to ship an assembled
wheel, and not just because of UPS size requirements - too easy to damage it! Take the
flyer assembly and bobbins and pack them with clothing or other soft items around them in
a suitcase or other firm container. The other pieces can be packed with wadded paper. You
don't have to TOTALLY take it apart - just enough that you can lay the larger pieces flat.
We do this for trade shows all the time and it all goes back together just fine. We did so
even when the old "pin-hub" arrangement was present. I had a friend who took her
wheel apart and moved it twice a year for years! Take a fine strong knitting needle or a
long brad to knock out the old pin - put it in a baggie for safe keeping.
To ship your Traditional, send it in pieces.
They come apart more easily than you think. Nothing is glued, you can do it with a
screwdriver. Then pack it in a flat box. The one critical point is the "pin"
which goes through the drive wheel and shaft. You have to drive that pin (it's about
3" long) right out use a hammer and a big nail and out it comes. It will go back just
I agree with the previous responses and think
taking the wheel apart is a good idea. It makes for a great opportunity to give it a real
good cleaning. I would take mine apart once a year or so and clean the axle etc. Lots of
dust and fiber can accumulate and slow your spinning without you noticing.
There is a way to remove the wheel and axle from
the leg supports, but it is pretty brutal. I had to do it to my Traditional this summer to
ship her from Seattle to L.A.. I wouldn't recommend it unless you HAVE to do it. I don't
know if the older wheels are the same, but on my Traditional (which is about 8 years old,)
there is a groove in the wooden hub of the wheel, running the full width of the hub and
passing through the center. In other words, the groove is a "diameter" of the
hub. The axle, which passes through the center of the hub, has a small hole drilled
through it in such a location that when the axle is inserted the proper distance into the
hub of the wheel the hole can be lined up with the groove in the hub. Groove and hole are
the same size, just a teeny hair smaller than a metal pin that sits in the goove and
passes through the hole, holding the axle into place in the hub.
The pin has to be hammered out to take the wheel
and axle off the legs. In order to apply force to the end of the pin you need to find an
extremely hard, sturdy, long, skinny metal implement that will fit into the groove, so you
can hammer out the pin. I used (and ruined) a small diameter hex wrench. I used the same
hex wrench (it isn't good for much else now) to hammer the pin back into place when
re-assembling the wheel. I do not think the wheel can be taken apart and put back together
more than a couple of times before I do serious damage to the wooden groove in the hub, so
I would not dis-assemble the wheel lightly.
I have had correspondence with several
individuals from the Knitnet group who have mentioned that their Ashford Traditional
wheels tended to creep along the floor when spinning. I have experienced the same with
mine, although not on other types of spinning wheels I have used. I have dealt with the
problem by oiling the wheel, loosening the drive band (easy to over tighten) and finally
gave up and purchased non-skid cups used for bed frames. They work great!
What Fibers Can One Spin On A
I feel like I can only make one type of yarn
on my Ashford Traditional. Is it me? or do other people feel the same way. I would
appreciate any hints/tips in this area.
Don't lose heart. Your traditional ashford will
spin almost any fiber, any style and any weight yarn you will be able to think of. When I
did my "Certificate Of Excellence" yarns, I used my Ashford Traditional for all
of the yarns, (36 yarns - cotton, wool, silk, flax, and other fibers), that weren't
required to be spun on a different tool. Four yarns had to be spun on a drop spindle,
support spindle, Navaho spindle and a spindle point wheel to prove proficiency. Then all
of my Master's novelty yarns were also spun on the same Traditional.
In the beginning you must make a very conscious
decision that the next bobbin is going to be different. Most of us are
"habitual" spinners, this is Rita Buchanan's term for getting comfortable with
one particular style and size of yarn.
To make a different yarn you must change
something intentionally. I have my classes first try to spin twice as fine as their usual
yarn. Finer is easier than thicker. Change the take-up to a lighter touch, use a very nice
wool preparation, pull off a thinner sliver from the roving. Draft a bit finer than you
are a first comfortable with. Relax since you have more time to insert the needed extra
Then after you have mastered a thinner yarn.
Make a conscious effort to decide at the beginning of each spinning session, that this
bobbin will be the old thicker or the new thinner. If you don't retain how you used to
spin thicker, then the new thin yarn soon becomes the "habitual" yarn and you
will be saying those words again. "All my yarn looks alike, only now it is
thin." Good luck.
Yes you can spin cotton on a Traditional using
double drive. That's the way I spin it. The first cotton I used is some brown roving I got
from a member of my guild. She said, "You can't overspin cotton" and once it is
spun to wind it on the niddy-noddy and throw noddy into very hot water if I want to keep
that shade of brown. Currently I have some plain old white stuff that I want to dye. So
far I have found it possible to spin llama, cotton, merino, coopworth, and polyester
batting (desperate for fiber, wasn't I) on a Traditional using double drive. I discovered
this fact after my grandson ran off with the little spring and knob to attach the scotch
tension. They haven't been found and he's too little to interrogate! It just takes a
little extra fiddling with each fiber to get timing, position etc right.
I spin cotton on my Traditional (and on my
Traveller) with no problems...just trot right along on the treadling...spin it long draw
and lots of twist...the long draw will allow you to draft out the slubs. Just remember
that cotton is stronger if spun fine. Use very little take-up.
My Ashford Traditional has no trouble spinning
cotton. I had a little trouble until I took a great class from Paula Shull. Spin with
practically no tension and lots of twist. I especially love to spin a cotton/silk
blend-such a texture!
I've done flax on an Ashford Traditional with no
problem. Same bobbins and everything. If you want to go really fine, you might want to try
the lace bobbins or start the flax on a 1/2 filled bobbin. It'll pull and break less at
the beginning. Since the fibers are longer, you won't have to treadle as much as you would
for merino or a short staple silk, but you will have to go faster than for knitting wool.
Spinners of angora need to be aware that twist
is all that keeps angora together. And the longer the fiber you are working with and the
THICKER a yarn you are making, the less twist you have to have. I find with the smallest
whorl ratio on the Traditional, I treadle once for every inch of drafting for my prime
plucked long-fiber thin spinning. For the thicker yarns, one treadle for every two inches
or so is all I need. Hope this helps out.
I would like to encourage others to try
'designer' yarns... I just tried making boucle with my Traditional and it worked great! I
love this spinning wheel. How?
- Spin 2 plys, same or 1 thinner. (z twist)
- Hold thinner tight, hold other loosely & let wrap.
- If you want, push loosely wrapped ply into bumps periodically. (s twist)
- Ply again, using sewing thread or very thin ply. (z twist)
I have an Ashford Traditional and use a
plastic drive band. I love it. Don't feel bad; at first I was confused at to how to get it
on and then was told you cut and then melt the ends and fuse it back together. It is a bit
of a pain, but worth it. I would imagine you could do the same on the Traveller. Hope this
Single and Double Drive
I recommend the
Single Drive Traditional Ashford as the best all-around wheel for most purposes. There are
those who recommend the double drive and either one spins just fine, but the original is
still the best to my mind. A double drive wheel comes with set ratios while a single drive
wheel has the full range of adjustment possible. Although the double drive wheels can be
converted into single drive, they don't convert into as convenient a single drive as the
wheels built to be single drive.
Just bought an Ashford Traditional and have been
happily spinning away for the last week in the double drive mode. At a spinners' group
yesterday, someone suggested I use the scotch tension while spinning some merino roving,
so I tried to use it today, and can't figure out what it's supposed to do. I moved the
drive bands over to the flyer whorl, & stretched the little nylon fishing line-like
thing over the groove in the bobbin & attached the spring to the hook on the front of
the maiden. But it doesn't seem to do anything when I treadle, even when I tighten the
knob, so have I hooked it up wrong or what? I just can't tell how it's supposed to be from
the pictures in the directions. I've been spinning the merino just fine with the double
drive and the smaller whorl on the flyer, but what's the scotch tension for anyway? Any
help will be much appreciated.
I have recently started on a Traditional, too,
and had the same experience with trying the scotch tension. With both drive belts on the
flyer, there's nothing to turn to bobbin, right? Anyway, I just went back to double drive,
which works fine for me for fine spinning, medium, or bulky. Maybe someday I'll learn the
scotch tension -- or maybe not. As much as I love the wheel and what it ALREADY does, I
don't really care.
I use all the Ashford wheels successfully. The
key is a light tension on brake band and/or drive band. I find the scotch tension a lot
easier to manage, but double drive has worked successfully if I keep the wheels well oiled
and take the time to adjust carefully before I start. Right now I am working mostly on my
Traditional with jumbo flyer but with standard bobbin and standard whorl. I am too lazy to
change the whole assembly all the time, and the ease in plying on a jumbo setup far
outweighs any inconvenience in spinning tiny yarn through a huge orifice. Besides, if I
want the ultimate spinning experience, I use the JOY or ELIZABETH with standard set-ups
and enjoy the tighter control and light response. It's fun to break the rules on a steady
basis... keeps one in charge.
Scotch tensioning versus Double Drive: All of my
wheels, except one, are double drive. The exception is my original Ashford traditional.
And, this is the wheel that I use to try any "new" fiber. My little Traditional
allows me the most control at the lowest speed -- or at least, that's how it feels...
perhaps I am so comfortable with this wheel because it's my first and I've been spinning
on it for so long. By the way, by "new" fiber, I'm not referring to anything
very exotic like wolf underdown or whatever... I'm just referring to anything technically
difficult. For example, in 1996, we produced some of our finest kid mohair, ever: the
slightest breeze would make the fiber "float"... rather like a good angora.
While I've spun fine kid mohair for years (and love it), I'd never spun anything quite
like that... as well, I only had a bit of it -- 3 kid fleeces -- because most of the
babies were sold that year prior to their first shearing. To spin these three
"treasures" (2 very black, one a soft charcoal flecked with red), I went back to
my Ashford Traditional. On the other hand, if I'm working with a fiber (shetland, for
instance) that I'm very comfortable with, then I use a double drive (perhaps dear
Elizabeth) and just FLY!
I bought a Traditional over the 'Net and am
trying to learn to spin. My wheel arrived with two sets of bands. Each set has two bands.
There was no Scotch tension apparatus, although I think it can be used as a single drive
with Scotch tension, alternatively. I've been trying to learn using the double drive.
My question is: If you have a double drive do
you HAVE to use a single band, doubled, or is it possible to use a two-band system, one
band for the flyer and one for the bobbin (both also around the big wheel)? I can't see
that it would make that much difference - but I'm just a beginner.
drive" band means a single drive belt (read : string) in a Figure-8 - it is NEVER two
separate circles of string or band. It's called double drive as the belt goes around two
places in its two loops. The wheel won't work if the belt isn't in a Figure-8 (folded in
I have purchased a new Traditional DD and can
only say that the new wheel is a delight to use, (although I have only used it so far as a
single drive). It is such smoooooooth treadling. At the time, I also picked up Patsy
Zawistowski's video tape which a few of you recommended and it has helped me tremendously.
The Traditional DD has a few different
combinations of band placements from which to choose and the Ashford directions give no
indication of what to use for what purpose. The bobbins on the DD have a groove on each
end, one being larger than the other, of course. The flyer whorl also has two band
grooves. When using the wheel as a single drive which bobbin and which whorl groove is for
what type of spinning? Which would one use when spinning with the double drive option and
for what purposes?
I'll try to answer this for you, Chris. My
Traditional is a single drive, but my Traveller is double drive. What you need to do is
start making notes for yourself. Place one drive band on the bobbin, small end and the
other drive band on whorl and start making ratio notes (how many turns of the flyer to
turns on the large wheel ie: 14:1). Then switch the bobbin around, and start making the
same notes for that end of the bobbin. There is also Irish tension to consider with a DD,
but that's something else again.
Generally speaking, the smaller the whorl, the
higher the twist, so if you want to spin a lace weight and don't have the lace flyer, then
choose the smallest end of your bobbin with the smallest whorl. And the reverse of that,
of course, is that if you want a soft spun singles, you'll need to use the largest end of
the bobbin and the largest whorl. When I want to spin a soft spun singles similar to Lopi,
I actually use my jumbo flyer unit and a long, quick draw with very well prepared rovings.
I would like to ask about ratios. How do you get
three ratios from a two ratio whorl flyer? I have about driven myself mad with trying to
figure this out and my husband has given it his all and has come to the same conclusion.
The 3rd speed
(which isn't obvious so you aren't doing anything wrong not to know about it!) is achieved
on a double drive wheel by a technique sometimes called "Irish tension". It's
explained in the Ashford Book of Spinning by Anne Field - you put BOTH loops of the drive
band on the bobbin whorl and no loop on the flyer whorl. The air and friction on the
maidens allows enough drag on the flyer to let the yarn draw on. Try it - it works.
I owe Faye a report on the high-speed flyer for
the Traditional. I think I have used it enough now to make a fair evaluation. I have a
double-drive Traditional (half year old)... Okay, on the whole I like it. Spinning a good
sea island cotton is a dream (which is what I got it for), though I still find it easier
to ply on the regular flyer.
I had a problem with getting the tension right
initially... if it was too loose, there was no spin, but then suddenly it would grab and
go as I increased the tension. I have solved this problem by using a little paste wax on
the bobbin whorl, to allow for more slippage. If there are other solutions, I would be
interested in hearing them. I did try scotch tension, but didn't like it. I spin a thin
yarn, and with the scotch tension, the yarn was jumping the hooks *continuously*. I really
am sold on the double drive, anyway.
I have a Double Drive Traditional Ashford wheel.
I love it. I have a question about the way the whorl attaches to my spindle. My standard
flyer has a screw on whorl, my jumbo flyer has a press on (? D) whorl. Now I need a high
speed whorl and I presume that it should go on my standard flyer. Can I still get a screw
on high speed whorl or will I have to buy a whole new flyer?
I, too, have a Traditional DD and recently
purchased the high speed kit. It contained the new keyed ('D') whorl, four bobbins, and
the complete keyed flyer. On Susan Druding's advice, I ordered a new keyed standard whorl
and no longer use the original flyer. The cost for the new whorl was modest.
I chose to buy an Ashford Traditional Double
Drive because it has the option of using either Scotch tension or belt drive tension. I
must confess I've never used the Scotch tension because I've been able to get the double
drive to do everything I've wanted to do. I totally love my wheel. Only thing I might do
differently in the future (in ADDITION to, not instead of the Traditional) is get one with
treadling and orifice both centered because the position I usually use for spinning does
strange things to my right leg and body. But I wouldn't trade the Traditional for the
world. And I suspect everyone you hear from on this list will be equally exuberant about
THEIR particular choice - so don't be surprised if you end up more confused than you
already feel! In my humble opinion there's no way you could go wrong with any of the
Ashford products -- and no, I'm not on the staff! Just a satisfied customer.
Lynne and I have been having an off-list
discussion about double drive/Scotch tension Ashford Traditionals. We each have one which
we love, but there's a confusion factor that we need to get cleared up. Can anyone help
us? Here's the problem:
When I recently bought my Ashford traditional
with double drive/Scotch tension and double treadle, the previous owner cautioned me that
when it is set up for double drive, the bobbin spins backwards and puts an S twist in the
yarn. She said this means that yarn spun with double drive can't be plied with yarn from
Scotch tension. When I set mine up for double drive, that's what appeared to be happening,
and some other spinning friends who are familiar with the wheel confirmed it. So I've gone
back to Scotch tension so I don't get too confused at this early date (I'm already
confused enough :) ).
Here's what Lynne says about the question:
"My yarn, using DD, with the wheel turning
clockwise, has a Z twist. if the wheel turns counterclockwise it produces an S twist. If
your wheel doesn't do that, something is set up incorrectly. Let's ask Susan; this has got
my curiosity tweaked now."
Susan or someone, can you answer our question?
Does double drive produce S twist or not? If not, what am I doing wrong when I set mine up
for DD? Inquiring minds want to know...
I'm not sitting
near a wheel, but after closing my eyes and thinking --- the yarn should all be the same
twist, but it's just winding differently on the bobbin on double drive as compared to
In single drive the
bobbin is turning more slowly than the flyer but in the same direction - in double drive
the bobbin is turning faster and the flyer is wrapping it the other way,
BUT it's the FLYER THAT
DETERMINES THE TWIST DIRECTION! Not the bobbin - The flyer is doing the spinning at the
orifice opening whether or not the bobbin is even turning. The bobbin is only winding the
yarn onto itself.
Do this - take a foot
of yarn spun on each set up and hold it vertically and I think you'll see that the
direction of the twist is the same and matches the direction in which you turned the
wheel, ie. the way the drive wheel is turning.
I purchased a left handed Traditional at
Convergence in Minneapolis. These wheels are not just a gimmick. After spinning nearly 20
years on "normal" Saxony wheels, my back had actually become a bit off-center
and when I stood "straight" I was actually looking toward the left. Since
breaking in the new wheel and spinning quite a bit of yarn on it, I can happily attest to
a straighter spine. It just feels really great to use it. I don't think, however, that is
makes any difference in the yarn. What makes a left handed spinner? It's anyone who draws
the yarn with the left hand - even if right handed.
I've used a combination of vaseline and mineral
oil for all of my approximately 17 years as a spinner with good results, starting with my
little Ashford Traditional. Now, there may be better, more modern products available
(surely things have changed in 17 yrs ); however, I'm an alumnus from the "if it
ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought... hence, no change. I use a little
vaseline on the flyer shaft to keep the bobbins running smoothly. I reapply vaseline every
couple of hours. I apply drops of mineral oil to all of the other moving parts on an
hourly basis. If I haven't been spinning for a couple of days (or weeks or months), I
clean the orifice, hooks, and flyer shaft with a little rubbing alcohol and one of my
husband's old, soft t-shirts. A heavier oil might allow me to spin, uninterrupted, for a
long period of time; but, at my age, I've learned that an hourly break (I also get up from
my chair, stretch, and look out the window) is good for keeping my body parts moving
smoothly, too! I now have a collection of some 13 wheels (okay... I admit it... I have a
problem!) and I use this combo on all of them.
My only problem with any of the Ashford wheels
have been warped bobbins. If the warp is mild, I simply ream it with a small round file.
When we moved from the coast to our mountain aerie (dry!), all of my old Ashford bobbins
warped (poor dears) and I have since replaced them. We're planning on moving the ranch
North to a much greener, gentler land in a couple of years when my husband retires; it
will be interesting to see how the wheels and bobbins handle a more humid home!
Is it possible for a particular wheel to
'prefer' to spin one direction over another? I have a Traditional that spins beautifully
'Z' but bucks and kicks when I try to spin 'S'. Since I spin singles "Z" and ply
"S", that means plying is not a fun experience! I was trying to do some Navajo
plying this past weekend and finally gave up, conceding victory to my wheel.
My old Ashford Traditional (>20 years)
definitely prefers spinning clockwise. Counterclockwise, the nuts and stuff at the top of
the con rod at the end of the axle get messed up. I don't have a solution, unfortunately,
except, possibly to ply with the lightest possible tension?
My thanks for the advice on my stubborn
traditional wheel. The consensus seems to be that some wheels really do have a
"preference" of which direction they want to spin. So I guess I can either be
more patient when plying, or try to find another wheel that I can use for plying.
I had a horrible time getting my Traditional to
spin counterclockwise for plying. After fighting with it for a while I spent a bit
applying a little mechanics to the problem. I decided the biggest difference between the
forces on the flyer during clockwise and counter clockwise rotation was the location of
the tensioning spring.
When you are spinning clockwise, the pull of the
brake band is away from the rubber band, making it more responsive to the tension release
on the yarn for taking up the spun yarn. When you spin the wheel counter-clockwise, the
pull is against the string wound on the peg, hence a rotten time getting the yarn to wind
on once plied enough.
My solution was cutting the brake band between
the eye and the peg, and tying in a rubber band there too. By this I mean that I inserted
a second rubber band in the section of the brake band that is horizontal just before the
band winds onto the peg. That fixed the problem.
When I ply my singles with my Traditional, I
find that I have to use even less on the break band than spinning. I assume you're plying
with the wheel spinning in the opposite direction than when spinning. If not that may be
your problem. I discovered that after getting a couple of skeins of corkscrews...
Advice from the Just In Case troubleshooting
=== TRADITIONAL SPINNING WHEEL ===
15) If the wheel binds slightly loosen the 4
bolts securing the frame together. Spin the wheel and retighten the bolts in a different
sequence until the wheel spins freely.
16) If the drive cord is not directly aligned
between the wheel and flyer whorl, adjust the maiden bar horizontally by loosening the
screws under it. Realign the drive cord and retighten the screws.
17) Retain allen key for future re-tightening of
wheel parts as during use vibration may loosen bolts. (Tape it under treadle?)
The Lace Flyer
The Lace Flyer has ratios of 40:1, 30:1, 20:1
and 15:1. The 40-30-20-15 ratios are those obtained with a standard cotton drive cord
(included in the kit). Also included will be a poly-stretchy drive cord for extra
"grab". Using this stretchy drive cord will slightly lower the ratios since it
has a larger diameter than the cotton, but its ease of use will be worth the slight loss
of ratios for many spinners who will like the feel of using this stretchy drive band.
The ratios quoted are those obtained on the
Traditional Ashford Wheel; the Traveller will have slightly lower ratios due to having a
smaller diameter drive wheel than the Traditional.
There are 3 different Lace Flyer Kits:
1. A kit that fits both the Single Drive
Traditional AND the Single Drive Traveller;
2. A kit that fits only the double drive Traditional;
3. A kit that fits only the double drive Traveller.
There is no adaptor kit which some people ask
about. The reason people think there is an adaptor kit is that after Richard Ashford
developed the Lace Flyer kit for the Single Drive wheels (which didn't fit the double
drive wheels) his plan was to make an adaptor kit to do this. (The early advertisements we
ran in SPIN OFF mentioned this adaptor kit) But, instead, he ended up making two separate
Lace Flyers Kits, one each for the two styles of double drive. Each kit has everything you
need to install the Lace Flyer on the wheel you own.
The ASHFORD LACE FLYER Kit includes:
- A completely re-designed flyer with an
elongated, slim design for optimizing high speed spinning;
- New front and rear maidens with special ball bearings inset into the maidens to allow
for easy treadling and true ratios (i.e. to minimize slippage);
- Three fat-core Bobbins to facilitate beginning extra-fine spinning on an empty bobbin;
- Two drive belts: standard cotton and new stretchy poly, a "fusing block" and
instructions for joining the ends of the poly belt;
- Flyer hooks set in a staggered pattern in the flyer arms to allow for even filling;
- A packet of Ashford's Merino Sliver to practice lace yarn spinning with the new flyer.
Suggested retail: $95.00
Price may vary depending on dealer's shipping
and handling charges.
I am having trouble with the lace flyer on my
Ashford Traditional. At the moment I am spinning silk on the fastest/smallest whorl. The
problem is that the slightest bit of tension on the Scotch tension causes the flyer to
rotate very slowly, and sometimes stop. But without any tension, the spun thread is not
winding on, and ends up in a kinked mass near the orifice.
I have spun lots of silk with this flyer, and
the problem only occurred intermittently, until now. Usually I could do some fine-tuning
and get it too work right, but not tonight. The only new thing I did was to put on a new
Ashford fat-core bobbin, which is very tight, as if the hole is slightly too small. Is
this the source of the problem?
It sounds as if
you have a source of extra (unwanted) friction - check over each area - the bobbin should
turn VERY easily and fast if you twirl it on the flyer shaft while holding the flyer in
your hands. You need to OIL the flyer shaft often where the bobbin "rides".
If the hole is somehow
blocked in the bobbin (peer through it) you can rasp it out a bit with a circular file (I
keep a small one with my spinning stuff to keep inner bobbin channels open).
Make sure you using a
drive band that isn't oily or slick. Others may have some ideas, too.
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! A few weeks ago I was privileged to take a
course with Margaret Stove on spinning Merino, and didn't find cobweb-fine spinning at all
easy. But it flowed like a dream on this new Ashford. I really hate to admit it, as I
dearly love my beautiful Norwegian wheel that I've had for 30 years, but I've been having
disloyal thoughts about maybe making a change!
Hi, I'm fairly new to the list, my name is Sarah
and I live in Evansville, IN. I've been spinning for a year on an Ashford Traditional
single drive and my question is this: Can the lazy kates that come with the Traditional be
modified so that you can actually use them to ply from? I get a tangle of singles every
time I try, so now I just wind all my singles into balls and ply from them - no tangled
mess, no hassle. I've tried brake bands on my lazy kate, but that wasn't much help.
Granted, it doesn't take much time to wind the singles into balls, but it would be nice to
use my lazy kate for something. Any suggestions?
There are tricks people do
with the standard Traditional Lazy Kate (such as laying it on its side and using rubber
bands and some other things people may post) to add tension -or- there is now a newish
Tension Lazy Kate with built-in brake bands that can be bought (simple assembly) for
tensioned plying. Any Ashford dealer can quote a price on this (and they cost only a
slight bit more than the regular Lazy Kates)
Maybe a slight alteration to your plying method
will iron out the difficulties; it's worth a try, anyway! Perhaps try having only 2
bobbins in the Lazy Kate at a time (obviously, this lets out 3-ply yarns....). Space them
at the top and bottom of the LK. Turn one bobbin over , so that they they are feeding from
opposite directions..... Ideally, the top bobbin unwinds from its top. Likewise, the
bottom bobbin is unwrapping from underneath. I've had good results this way, hope that you
I used a Traditional for six years and plyed off
my lazy kate that came with it. This is how I plyed without getting the tangles: I put the
lazy kate in between my legs, on the floor. I bring the single ply around the sides of my
legs instead of right up through the middle of my two legs and to the orifice. One single
on the side of my left leg, one single on my right leg, (out side). This I found created
some drag which pulled the tangles out. Separating the singles with my legs keeps the
singles from tangling together.
From: From: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also use the lazy kate which came with my
traditional wheel. I spin pretty fine yarns and so I need some tension, too. I place the
two bobbins so that the yarn is coming over the top of the top bobbin, and under the
bottom of the bottom one. Then I tie some string (rug warp works great for this) around
BOTH bobbins together --get it in the grooves on one side or the other -- it doesn't
matter which side. It should be pretty loosely tied or you'll never get your yarn to move!
This way, when you pull, the bobbins will turn in directions opposite to each other, and
the string they share will drag them both down. I've used this method for years and it's
I've finally gotten to sanding the bobbins on my
new Traditional. Is it my imagination, or do they require a whole lot more sanding than
any other part of the wheel? Is this because they are made with the plywood rather than a
solid piece of wood? Is it possible that I'm being anal retentive and the bobbins shouldnt
have as smooth a finish as a piece of furniture on their edges? I'm not trying to get the
groove smooth because I figured that needed some drag for the belts, just the outside
edges of them. I'm using an extra-fine sandpaper, but after 15 min of sanding, steel wool
still snags on the edges in places. I'm afraid of over sanding them, too. Any suggestions?
I have spun on skads of
Ashford bobbins and have never touched one with sandpaper - I use them as-is.
I am very new to this (spinning and list)... so
bear with me. I plan to purchase a used Traditional. The wheel is about 15 years old but
in good condition. It has only one bobbin and no lazy kate. My question: can one easily
find/purchase used (or new) kates and bobbins for a wheel this old? Have there been any
significant changes to the Traditional that I should be aware of ? Any other
considerations? The price of the wheel seems reasonable
Yes, current bobbins will
fit fine. You have a choice of 3 kinds of Lazy Kate : the original upright style, the
horizontal style that comes with the Elizabeth and the newest "tension" Lazy
The Jumbo Flyer
I've got a Traditional double drive. I made what
I consider a wonderful hack to the wheel to enable me to change from the standard to jumbo
flier in no time, and also to allow me to change bobbins easier (when I'm not changing
The problem became apparent when I bought the
jumbo flier kit. To change to using the jumbo flier, I had to change the front maiden
(larger opening for fatter yarn needs a larger orifice in the flier, thus needing a
different front maiden). This involved unscrewing the standard maiden, and placing in and
screwing in the jumbo maiden. The screws supplied by Ashford are wood screws, and with
each change of standard to jumbo to standard the wood screws would be slowly eating away
the insides of the maiden. Eventually the screw would damage the maiden so much that I
would either have to use a bigger screw or buy a new maiden. Also, the very act of having
to find a screwdriver and spend at least 5-10 minutes with the screwdriver at an awkward
angle while I did the unscrewing of the 1 inch plus long screw, watching the insides of my
maiden getting eaten away with every turn of the screwdriver, made me loathe to want to
change fliers with any frequency.
Optimally, in my mind, changing to the jumbo
flier should take less than 1 minute, use no extra tools, and cause no harm to any part of
the wheel. It shouldn't be much harder or take more time than merely changing the bobbin.
I came up with a solution.
With the double drive, the whole mother-of-all
is forward of the wheel. This is your saving grace. This cannot be done with the single
drive wheel, as far as I can tell.
I removed the front maiden, tossed out the evil
wood screw, and inserted a the special type of screw into the maiden which has a wood
screw on one end, and the tread for a wing nut on the other end. When installed, the screw
and wing nut hang off the bottom of the mother-of-all, but since that is in FRONT of the
wheel, it doesn't get in the way of anything when you're spinning. I put a similar screw
on the bottom of that front maiden supplied with the jumbo flier. These screws will remain
forever in the maidens. Time to modify maidens: 5 minutes each. Tools needed: your fingers
to twist the screw into the maiden (use the wing nut to twist the screw).
So, it is now trivial to change from standard to
jumbo fliers. I simply take the drive band off the wheel, remove the old flier, flip the
mother-of-all on its side (via the hinge) and give the wing nut a twirl. The wing nut
flies off, I remove the metal washer (which is there to protect the underside of the
mother-of-all's wood from the wing nut when it tightens), pop in the replacement maiden,
replace the washer and wing nut, and mostly tighten.
Now I put on the new flier, and before I tighten
the wing nut all the way, I spin the flier with my finger (drive band not on) and adjust
the angle of the front maiden until the flier spins freely. Now I tighten the maiden, put
the drive band back in place, and start spinning. Time to change from standard to jumbo
fliers: about one minute. The hardest part is putting the drive band back on the wheel.
This modification also negates the problems I
have with the removal of the flier. I don't like the way that Ashford has supplied us with
the "v" opening in the rear maiden to "pop" the flier out of the rear
maiden. I always feel like I have to use too much pressure to get it out, and I'm afraid
I'll break something. To change bobbins, I never touch the rear maiden. I always simply
reach under the front maiden, loosen the wing nut by a quarter twist or less, twist the
front maiden slightly and the flier comes out. When I am done changing the bobbin, I put
the flier back, and do the quick spin I described in the above paragraph to ensure the
maidens are parallel, tighten the wing nut on the front maiden, and replace the drive band
If you want more details (like what the special
screw is called so you can ask at your friendly neighborhood hardware store) I can help,
but I merely brought the front maiden to the store and told them I wanted to put a wing
nut style screw in the bottom of this chunk of wood and they found the appropriate screws,
wing nut and washer for me.
That sounds a great idea you thought up for
the Jumbo flyer. I don't know how many people have been put off buying/using it by the
thought of the user-unfriendly changeover. I certainly dithered a long time before
committing my money.
I have a scotch tension (single drive)
Traditional and found a different way around the difficulty. It was mentioned in an old
issue of Spin-Off in an article called 'My Souped-Up Ashford' or something similar, by
Patsy Zawistowski. She just leaves the Jumbo maiden on the wheel all the time. When using
the normal flyer, the tension of the drive band stops it slopping around and it really
doesn't seem to make any difference to me. I still have the (very slight) problem that
although I have the 'clip out' rear maiden, I still have to twist it slightly to remove
the Jumbo bobbins, as it doesn't seem to have enough clearance otherwise.
I think she also came up with the idea of using
a small wedge under the tilting bit of the mother-of-all to take up extra slack in the
drive-band when using the smallest whorl of the high-speed flyer. That way you can get
away with using one drive band all the way through from largest jumbo whorl to smallest
high-speed whorl. I haven't actually done this though as I had already got two drive-bands
set up. I wrap the one not in use around the base of the wheel support.
I have the same problem with the jumbo flyer -
the smaller whorl won't line up with the drive wheel. I also find it easier to twist the
rear maiden sideways to remove a bobbin, even though mine does have the slit. There's a
tight little bump in the center of the slot that the axle just doesn't want to go through.
It's only a minor annoyance so I just keep my Swiss army knife handy to tighten the screw.
I took my Traditional apart last week for a
thorough cleaning. It's working much better although I still would like a faster wheel. At
least if I get a faster one I can either keep this one and have two good wheels or sell it
to a friend who's interested in learning to spin. I'm going to be very careful when I get
a new wheel since there are very few on the market as quiet as a Traditional.