Monday, July 7, 2014

Spinning Gearbox: Schacht Ladybug Wheel

I love everything about my Ladybug, right down to the bright red drive wheel and the teeny tiny ladybug that cheers me on as I spin (it's located in a unique place for each wheel)! It's modern-looking, well-constructed and easy to use with minimal upkeep required. It's a fantastic wheel for folks who are new to wheel spinning, and it will still be your go-to wheel once you level up to intermediate or even experienced!

When my wheel arrived on my doorstep a few years ago (from The Woolery, if you're wondering), there was minimal set-up and I was up and spinning! The standard wheel comes with a regular flyer assembly, 3 bobbins, a fast whorl and a medium whorl, and a threading hook. It features Scotch tension and double drive options.
Image © Schacht
While many wheels require frequent maintenance, the Ladybug wheel was designed to require very little. Each time I sit down to spin, I only have to add a few drops of oil to the flyer shaft - the spinning wheel hub and drive wheel were designed specifically not to require oiling. There is a short maintenance list in the instructions which I do a couple of times of year and my wheel is still in tip-top shape!

It has built-in handles in a couple of different locations, for "easy travel," although I personally don't see myself taking my Ladybug outside of the house. According to the Schacht website, the wheel itself weighs 13.5 pounds, which is certainly on the lighter end of the spectrum, but I still feel like the size and weight preclude it from being considered a "travel" wheel for me personally. I really can't see myself schlepping it on the bus or train, but if I had a car, this would probably be a different conversation right now!


I have been able to spin pretty much any type of yarn or fiber I've wanted to on this wheel; admittedly, I tend to only want to spin thin singles (not laceweight thin, more like sock weight thin) to ply into a worsted or bulky 2- or 3-ply yarn. I haven't explored too far outside of those realms just yet, but I've seen a lot of spinners on Instagram and elsewhere who have been able to spin some very interesting yarns on their Ladybugs, so I feel comfortable saying that it's a pretty versatile little wheel for the price.
Add-on: Bulky Flyer Package.
There are additional Schacht products you can add to your wheel; recently, I added the Ladybug Bulky Flyer to mine! It comes with a special flyer that has a 7/8" orifice, a special front maiden, and a bulky bobbin. The set-up would have been easy, except for one thing: the whorls I had for my wheel didn't fit onto the Bulky flyer! Turns out this is an issue that happens fairly frequently in the line, and I had two options: I could either file down the center of one of my whorls myself, or I can send the whole shebang to Schacht so that they could fit the whorl onto the flyer for me.

Photo © The Woolery
I went with the first option, since I was dying to ply one my my projects into one mega-skein of yarn using my new set-up. I went to Home Depot to find a file that was small enough to fit inside the Whole (and in the process, I was reminded of why I hate going to Home Depot), and then I came home and set to work. It took about 20 minutes, and I did manage to stab myself in the hand somewhere along the way, but the whorl does fit and I have been happily using the Bulky Flyer ever since.

One more separate accessory that I don't have is the Tensioned Lazy Kate which actually attaches to the wheel. It's certainly affordable ($39 at the Woolery), but I find myself wondering how user-friendly it is since I prefer to position my lazy kate to the right of my wheel, just behind where I'm sitting. I think getting used to a totally different position would throw me off, and I also wonder if chain plying would even be possible. If anyone has this add-on for their Ladybug wheel, I would really love to hear your thoughts!

You might like to know: I wrote this review at the request of one of my readers who wanted to know more about my spinning wheels; I have no affiliations with Schacht, thought I do have a working relationship with the Woolery. 

1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering if I want to upgrade to a different wheel (I currently have a PVC Babe). Lots of people seem to have a Ladybug and I've been curious if it it's a good wheel to grow with.

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