Several months ago I developed acute sciatica which put paid to being able to use my treadle spinning wheels. Actually it put paid to doing anything that required me to sit, stand or walk for any amount of time, so frustration became my middle name. In a fit of panic I purchased an Ashford E spinner, but have only just got around to being fit enough to truly engage with it.
I was lucky that one popped up on EBay, and it was where I live, so it was, I felt, fated to be mine! It came complete with spare bobbins , other useful spinning odds and the Ashford battery pack. It had been put together but was unused, so the bobbins had to be fitted with leaders and motor needed some time to ‘run in’, according to the instructions.
I managed to set it up and ‘ran it in’ using some odd pre-carded fibre in a rather odd mustard yellow whilst still struggling with my own movement. I’m not proud of the yarn, but it was a learning experience. I am now using some Ryeland fleece I washed and carded myself last summer and really getting to grips with it.
What I have learned is that this is very different from using a treadle wheel. I miss that rhythmic connection with the developing more than I can say. However, there is no doubt that that E spinner relieves my lower back and enables me to spin at the moment. So I thought I’d share some of my early thoughts on the matter.
- Love the big bobbins
- It’s very light and compact
- Pretty quiet – except when I use the 3d printed plastic bobbins that came as extras with it. These rattle a bit.
- Is very transportable and versatile when used with the battery pack – which seems to last for ages.
- Comes with its own tensioned Lazy Kate which makes life easier.
- Variable and sensitive motor control
- Weighty enough to tolerate the brake on the bobbin without moving around.
- I find the black rear motor connection fiddly to fit, and being black it is hard to see the flat area that the flyer has to fit to so that it can slide in.
- One of the carbon fibre flyer arms has a flaw on it, so the sliding flyer-hooks doesn’t slide smoothly to the end on that side. I’ve tried sanding it, and that has helped, just needs a little more I think.
- The speed dial doesn’t ‘click’ so adjusting the speed is a bit arbitrary. I guess I could put marks on it, but am holding off defacing my pristine wheel for a while.
- It’s not a obvious how one relates speed to desired TPI of the yarn, (but I will post about that shortly).
So those are some of my first thoughts on the E spinner. Overall it is beautifully made, aesthetically pleasing, and thoughtfully designed. I’ve not used other makes, so this is not a comparison. Having watched lots of YouTube videos about various makes and typed of E spinners I decided this was the one I wanted. I would have considered the other wooden make, is it Hansen? Whichever one I chose I knew I would feel I was cheating – but now I’ve got in the swing a bit more I don’t feel so cheaty. I do look at my treadle wheels high on their shelf and wonder if I will ever be able to use them again…
A bit more about the sliding flyer. I have one on my Ashford Traveller and Traditional as well as on a Louet Victoria. The Louet one is lovely, slides like a dream and doesn’t catch yarn or fibre, but the Ashford ones are both difficult to pinch and juddery to slide, and have a tendency to catch fibre in the spring. They are not my favourite bit of Ashford kit, especially when I have the Louet version to compare with.
I will be adding my thoughts on how to achieve the desired TPI of yarn spun on an E spinner over the next few weeks. Please pop back if this interests you.