I encouraged my sister, Rheta, to buy a lovely Ashford Country Spinning Wheel a couple of years ago at SAFF (Southeast Animal & Fiber Festival) near Asheville, NC. She has become so involved in photography, that she decided that she would sell the wheel. Since I've always wanted to be able to spin bulky, fancy yarns and can't do it on my smaller Louet, and since I convinced myself that it was my fault that she spent the money, I decided to buy it from her.
My mother, always a trooper when it comes to helping us with craft projects, agreed to help me put this together. I'm pretty sure that we put each leg on at least twice to get them correctly attached. When we finally got the whole thing assembled, but the end caps on the pedal bar, we were ecstatic (and also, as they say in the South, "give out"). The end caps decided not to cooperate either, though. The depth of the caps was not enough to connect and they kept falling off until we had mangled them with the hammer with our "yes, you will stay on here" attitudes. A close friend of my parents was at the house that afternoon and checked over the wheel, even disassembling and reassembling some parts. He assured us that the wheel should still work without the endcaps, now totally useless. I did buy some others at Lowes later, but they proved unusable. The wheel works well without them, though.
My Louet has one large pedal for both feet. I'm very used to it and can operate it with both feet or with one. Going to the Ashford with two pedals was a little difficult at first, but I felt that I was getting better. I managed to spin a bit of two different rovings, one I promised to Rheta that I would spin for her and another from Ashland Bay Company that is promised to my mother for her help.
I let the wheel sit for a while and have only in the last week tried to use it again. I couldn't get it to catch the roving and keep it spinning. It was like being a beginning spinner again. The roving literally flew out of my hands and broke from the batt. I even listed it on Craigslist, thinking that I had made a big mistake in buying another wheel. Did I really need to spin big yarn, or should I just be happy with what I had? Then, I remembered something else I had let go for too long - ravelry.com.
Yes, I was a member of at least one spinning group on that site. I pulled up the site and sent out a call for help. I got several responses. Someone suggested adjusting the large bolt that holds the leather brake. I had a Homer Simpson moment "Doh!", and oh yes, oh yes, it worked! I also slowed down my pedaling and am now actually seeing the bottom of the pile of Rheta's lovely blue-green roving. My goal is to get both done by Valentine's Day.