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Lovely Louet

Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I LOVE my new Louet spinning wheel! She arrived safely, and is absolutely gorgeous. So modern and streamlined, with beautiful solid wood construction that’s sure to last for a very long time. She was easy to assemble, and I just want to stare at her and run my hands over her smoothly finished wood. The cats, of course, were curious about her too:

Louet S10 DT spinning wheel

Louet S10 DT spinning wheel

The bad news is that I feel like I’m having to learn to spin all over again… and it’s much more complicated this time around. It took me forever to just figure out how to attach a leader yarn that wouldn’t slip on the bobbin, and of course the footwork is going to take some practice. I’m not sure what I was expecting, I knew there would be a learning curve involved, so I’m probably just being silly and putting too much pressure on myself, but I can’t help but be disappointed that it didn’t really start feeling more natural by the end of the evening. How long does it usually take to get accustomed to a spinning wheel? I’m guessing probably more than a few hours, so I’m sure I’m being silly, and shouldn’t let myself get so frustrated. Here are my tragic first attempts. For all of you who have been tempted to believe that I’m a quick learner, you can feel free to laugh now:

louet spinning wheel first attempts

What even is that? It looks like I tried to wrap the sheep itself around the bobbin! I don’t think it helped that the practice wool they sent with the wheel is so hideously scratchy and rough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad they sent it, I didn’t want to ruin any of my other beautiful fiber, and it won’t be wasted regardless… I’m thinking dryer balls, whatever the end result. But I’ve just been so spoiled with all of my lovely, soft fiber that working with this didn’t help my frustration level. After about 3 hours, I was able to occasionally start to feel a bit of rythm, but then something would happen to throw it all off again. Mainly I think I’m not used to working with my hands this way, and timing them with my feet. I kept letting the twist enter the main fiber, and then I wasn’t sure about the timing to let the fiber wrap around the bobbin, etc. It feels like it should all work together eventually, and I’m still hopeful that I’m going to eventually get it… it’s just going to take longer than I’d hoped. I think I got some better results by the end of the evening, but I’m not really sure how it happened, and there are tons of kinks and weak points:

louet spinning wheel first attempts

I know I should probably just relax and be OK with this learning process… I’m sure that would only help my cause. It just feels so much more out of control than the spindle right now. I really want to master both tools, and use them as I feel the whim. I’d love to use this to make a lot of yarn quickly, and the spindle when I’m feeling more leisurely, or want to be more portable. I really am in love with the design, and I can tell it’s going to be very comfortable eventually. I especially love the double treadle, and the detailing on the bobbins. Let’s just step back and admire that for a minute:

louet s10 spinning wheel top

louet bobbins

I’m excited to get to know my lovely Louet better. I can tell we’re going to be great friends. Any beginner’s advice from my fellow spinning wheel users would be very welcome… and may help me relax a bit. šŸ™‚

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29 thoughts on “Lovely Louet

  1. It took me aggges to learn how to spin on a wheel, so don’t worry. I got so frustrated as it looked so easy on Youtube, etc, and I just. could. not. do. it! I think I started crying in frustration at one point! But it will get easier. Just take it nice and slow. What I do for the bobbins is have a piece of leader yarn constantly attached, and don’t take it off. This way I can then add my fibre onto it, and start spinning straight away. I always make sure the leader is always wound onto the bobbin too, sometimes by hand, sometimes with the treadle. Have you tried treadling alone? Without any fibre? This will help you get into the rhythm of making the wheel go which way you want it to. Louet is the same make of spinning as I have, so you have got an awesome wheel there šŸ˜€ You will get there. šŸ™‚

    • Thank you! That is very encouraging… to know I’m not the only one to get frustrated, and to know that you learned to love it eventually anyway. That’s also great advice about the leader yarn, and treadle practice… I’ll do that. And it’s good to know that you like your Louet too! šŸ™‚

  2. I’m SURE you’ll get the knack…..and then only get better! Your transparency is amazing! It may not help, but I’ve learned over the years that anything I try to do the first time is difficult and frustrating, but when I just keep at it, I do eventually get much better.

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement! And your advice does help. I will keep it in mind, and try to relax and enjoy the learning process, as I have been doing with my spindle work. šŸ˜‰

      • I wish I had some tips for you, but I can’t remember a thing. I’m trying to knit again like I did years ago, and I’ve started this project over 25 times…frustrating…Oh, well, hang in there. I am confident you are going to be fantastic at it!!!

      • I’m trying to make either fingerless mittens or socks using the double-pointed needles. And I just feel so clumsy! I’ve made mittens before a long time ago. Like I said, I just am not remembering. So I get about 2 inches into it and find a mistake, or find that it isn’t even and I start all over again…But I am going to hang in here, it’s a deal! I just think you are going to get it a lot faster than me. šŸ™‚

      • We’ll see, I guess. šŸ˜‰ Have you tried using the magic loop method instead of double points? I like it SO much better. I’ve always felt clumsy using DPNs, and if you like magic loop, you can just have one needle with a 40″ cable in each size and use them for EVERYTHING. It’s also easier to tell where you are in the project, I hardly ever need stitch markers anymore.

      • Me too… I have a feeling it will, I was almost shocked by how much easier it made my knitting life. So when your pattern says, put X stitches on the first needle, X on the second, and X on the third, etc… you can ignore all of that. You only need to divide the amount of stitches in half, one half on each needle. (as they show in the video)

  3. Wow that spinning wheel is awesome! I’ve always liked the Louet design – maybe one day I can get me one too! I like and agree with what empress27 said. I too have permanently attached leaders on my bobbins. I make them really long, like at least a metre or so and treadle it on there in the direction I’m going to be spinning (clockwise) or the direction I’m plying (anti-clockwise) to make sure there’s no slippage. Don’t get discouraged – I like the fluffy/hairy singles on the bobbin picture! When I started on a wheel I basically got some affordable fiber, and told myself that that fiber was put aside for learning on/messing up, and then I didn’t put so much pressure on myself! And the lady I bought my wheel off gave me a little to practice on too which was nice of her so like you said, I just told myself it was for practice so I didn’t feel bad for screwing it up! I totally agree with the idea of treadling without anything attached. I only have a single treadle but I’m sure the principle’s the same. Just build up some muscle memory in your feet/legs and treadle alone for a while. Then try some drafting/spinning, then when/if you get overwhelmed go back to just treadling, and go back and forth until it becomes like clockwork! A couple tips I would say to use a less fine fiber to practice your drafting on the wheel, as the finer fibers are a bit more difficult to draft when your brain is still trying to get used to telling your feet what to do at the same time, but just give it time šŸ™‚ You can do it! Also, a tip for the tension on the leader (basically so the wheel doesn’t suck it up and out of your hands!) – wind the most part of your leader onto the bobbin (you can do this by hand if you want) in the direction you will be spinning. Then start pulling the leader out gently to see how much tension/slack there is on the leader. This will give you an indication of how aggressive the take up will be. If it’s really difficult to pull the leader out, then just adjust the tension to give yourself some slack until it’s just right. This should make it easier to concentrate on the treadling and drafting! Sorry if I’ve told you stuff you already know (or repeated myself!), but these are things that helped me in the beginning šŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for all of your great advice and encouragement! I really appreciate it! I practiced just treadling last night and I really think it helped. My son and I took turns telling each other when to stop and start. It was a lot of fun. šŸ™‚ The practice fiber I am using is definitely NOT fine. šŸ˜‰ This wheel is known to have a very positive take in (?) so I have no tension on it at all right now. Do you gradually let it go in as you are drafting, or do you hold it back and let the spin build up first, then let it go in?

  4. hmm ‘a very positive take in’? I don’t have a Louet so I’m not really sure how to adjust or if you even need to adjust that sort of thing! Mine’s a really old Ashford Traditional with a separate drive band and brake band, so if the brake tension is too high, and the wheel is really tugging on the single, I do a very slight adjustment to slacken the brake tension. I think maybe we are comprehending tension in different ways? When you say tension do you mean the tension you yourself are putting on the yarn? Cos when I say ‘tension’ I kind of mean the ‘take up’ i.e how much the bobbin wants to pull on the yarn from your hand and wind it onto it’s core. Sorry if I’m being confusing! It’s easier to show someone than to explain it written! You shouldn’t have to pull on the yarn you are spinning away from the orifice, you should be able to say, pinch the fiber where it is e.g an arm’s length away from the orifice, and it should not be sucked into the orifice drastically – you should be able to hold it there (you are in control of it) and build up twist by treadling (if that’s what you’re doing – kind of like ‘park and draft’ on a drop spindle) then feed it in when necessary (by moving your hand towards the orifice). If you’re spinning worsted (short forward draw) then you kind of draft forwards (towards the orifice) and feed the (twisted) yarn onto the bobbin. BUT, you have to make sure you are putting in enough ‘twists per inch’ (tpi) i.e on my wheel, if I’m spinning a fine yarn, I will choose the smallest whorl (which will give me more twists per inch to stop it from drifting apart and make a stronger yarn). When I went from drop spindle to wheel, I was more comfortable to draft BACKWARDS – I’d spin a length as long as my arm would let me, then stop, and test the single by tugging it along the length to see if it would draft apart or not. If it was ok, then I would begin treadling and feeding that length onto the bobbin. If that makes sense! So basically, you can actually do both things ”Do you gradually let it go in as you are drafting, or do you hold it back and let the spin build up first, then let it go in?” You can do either of these things but it’s best to stick to one technique per skein to get even results. I hope I answered your question and didn’t put you off with the jargon! šŸ™‚ I hope you find a way that works for you!

    • i meant “take up”, not “take in”. Sorry, I don’t have all the jargon down, for sure. There is a brake band, but I haven’t needed to use it yet, that’s what I meant. You perfectly answered my question though, thank you! This is VERY helpful information. šŸ™‚

  5. I am so glad you are blogging all this! I love reading the blog AND all the comments too. I am learning a lot.
    I have tried spinning on my spinning wheel before with just youtube videos and got frustrated because of tension and take-in so I think if I read what ilikecolours said carefully before I try again it might help me.
    But for now, I am going to start with the drop spindle. I am getting one today. Yay! I am excited to try it out this evening after watching some you tube videos. I hope I can figure it out!

    • Yay!!! I’m so excited for you! I think you will LOVE it! Please post about it. šŸ˜‰ I thought all of the videos I watched on drop spinning were pretty straightforward and helpful… the spinning wheel ones not so much, but maybe I haven’t watched the right videos, or maybe it’s just a matter of practice. I’m going to try out ilikecolors advice tonight too. šŸ™‚

      • I have watched some videos and I am wondering, what do you do with your yarn after you spin but before you ply? Do you use a ball winder? I don’t have one and I am wondering if there is another option.

      • I don’t have a ball winder either. You can make it into a skein if you plan to set it aside for awhile, and want to put something else on your spindle, but I’ve just been going right to doubling it with the Andean Bracelet method, then making a center-pull ball by wrapping it around my fingers, and then plying right away… because I am impatient, too cheap to use fancy tools, and like the idea of no wasted yarn. If you watch the videos I linked to in this post as I describe my process, it might help you understand better: https://vuchickens.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/i-want-to-be-rapunzel/ Good Luck! šŸ™‚

      • That is so funny that you mention the Megan LaCore videos because after watching parts of many and moving on I finally found hers and definitely liked them the best. Silly me, I should have gone back through your posts sooner and I could have saved myself a bunch of time. Sigh. Well I’m looking back through them now. šŸ™‚

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