Which spinning wheel-Ashford Traditional or Louet 76 for a beginner?

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I am looking at buying a spinning wheel and have seen both these available used. Does anyone have any advice or opinions on which would be better to begin on. The lady at the spinning shop said Louet, but she also had a vested interest in it. Thanks for the help. Tami in Wi

-- Tami in WI (windridg@chorus.net), November 08, 2000


This question is a lot like which breed of dog, horse, ect is best.My sugestion is to try both before you buy and see which you like better. after my navaho spindle I learned to spin on a Louet but I like my ashfords better, just my personal prefrence.

-- kathy h (saddlebroncc@msn.com), November 09, 2000.

Tami, I agree with Kathy, it's all an opinion(justlike breeds of dogs)but I also started on a Louet and still spin on a Louet, I love it.

-- Emily in Ky (BellyAcresFarm@KYK.net), November 09, 2000.

I got the sheep , know I want a wheel !! No fair .

-- Patty (fodfarms@slic.com), November 09, 2000.

I'm with Tami in WI (central wisc. for me), got the sheep this year, now have to learn to spin or get someone to do it for me. I'm a weaver, so have plenty of uses for the yarn, but wondering where I'll find the time to add this step? Anyone want some fleece to practice on this spring?

-- Rose Marie Wild (wintersongfarm@yahoo.com), November 09, 2000.

Oops, I meant I'm with Patty, sheep but no spinning wheel. Please keep us posted as to which you decide on and why, and how the spinning goes.

-- Rose Marie Wild (wintersongfarm@yahoo.com), November 09, 2000.


NELS WIBERG W8131 BAYVIEW DRIVE WHITEWATER, WI 53190 PHONE & FAX: 262- 473-2009 E-MAIL: nwiberg@smartgate.com ORDERS: PHONE 1-877-628-3208 Welcome to Babe's Fiber Garden In August of 1996, Nels Wiberg started the manufacturer of Babe's Fiber Starter, www.bulthuis.com

-- JR (jr3star@earthlink.net), November 09, 2000.

I started on an Ashford, then bought a Louet and sold the Ashford. Now I want the Ashford back. Here's the difference, as far as I can tell. The Louet treadles like a dream. You can use, to an extent, heel-toe motion, which means you can almost always start the wheel in either direction without having to push it with your hand. Also, the treadling on the Louet is more even. The Ashford has power for half the stroke, then coasts half the stroke.

The reason I want the Ashford back is that the Louet's tension is difficult for me to adjust so that I can spin very fine yarn. You need a very fine tension adjustment so the wheel doesn't pull the yarn apart trying to drag it out of your hands, and the Louet just can't seem to go fine enough for lace weight yarns. Also, my Louet is a bit slow, at about 7:1 on the small end of the bobbin. I have since purchased newer, faster bobbins, and once I buy three of them, I should be well fixed for fast spinning, which again is important for thinner yarns.

Another nice feature of the Louet is that the bobbins tend to be quite large, so you can easily ply a decent amount of yarn on them.

The best idea would be to sit at both wheels, if possible. Barring that, decide what's important to you and take the plunge. They're both quite good wheels and will stand you in good stead.

A good site for used equipment is:


Good luck, and have fun!

-- Laura Jensen (lauraj@seedlaw.com), November 09, 2000.

I learned on a Louet, it was very easy for a beginner to learn on. I've tried several wheels since, including an Ashford, and I still prefer the Louet. It didn't seem to need as much adjusting as the other wheels; I could just get right to spinning.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), November 09, 2000.

I was told that the Ashford was AWFUL for a beginner to learn on (by someone who sold another brand), but it was the only one locally available. So I bought an Ashford traditional, and LOVE it. Part of it has to do with the looks--you need consider if you will love looking at it, when you are not using it. Mine spins well and looks good.

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), November 09, 2000.

Thanks for the information. I dont believe I will be able to try them out before I buy. I used a Louet in the spinning class I took, about 100 years ago. I did remember that it was easier than others we used. i really like the look of the Ashford. Course looks arent everything. I figure that probably you get used to what you have and it ends up working for you? I really like the web site Laura, thanks. I have been looking on Ebay, it surprised me that you might as well buy new the used ones are close enough in price with out being sure all is in working order. That was my experience anyway. Tami in WI

-- tami in wi (windridg@chorus.net), November 12, 2000.

Hello Fellow Spinners ( and spinners-to-be)....

For the more frugal minded, there is always the Babe's Fiber Starter, made out of a bicycle wheel and PVC, inexpensive if you're not quite sure if you'll take to it. Also, the vendor will let you upgrade to a wooden wheel and give you $50 towards it if you send your PVC wheel back where it is donated to charity....Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, schools, etc. to promote spinning to children. I'll have to look up the link, I bought two wheels for my girls for Christmas two years ago.....

Also bear in mind the height of the orifice can be a problem sometimes, so sit in a comfortable chair, and see how high your knee is from the floor. If the orifice height is too short it is really a pain to spin on. Comfort is the key to enjoyable spinning.


-- Sandie Baker (thompsonfarm@greatpoint.net), November 13, 2000.

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