This is Pt2 of a three part series ...working title is "Val`s Wheels". I`m not saying there won`t be a fourth part, but so far, it`s a trilogy. I`ve only got three spinning wheels, alas.
He`s definately a he, btw...Louie the Louet. I didn`t know wheels were supposed to be female! And he should have been Pt1 because he was my first wheel, the wheel I learned to spin on and definately my favourite. Even if that Mazurka did come and lure me away for a while with her pretty little spokes.
I bought Louie off Ebay two or three weeks after I first discovered that I needed to learn to spin at the Haddington Group Open Day in March last year. I went home from that with a spindle and fibre, taught myself to spindle very badly and realised I needed a wheel at once. The only wheel I had tried before then was the Ashford Traveller and initially I was looking for a second hand one of these because a new one was going to be a bit over my budget. Second hand made sense because I felt I could always resell it and not make a loss if I didn`t take to spinning. Hubby thought this was sensible too. Little did he know what was going to happen over the next year.....
I did a bit of reading about wheels...bobbin led, Scotch tension, double drive...all double Dutch to me at first! And I stalked a few wheels on Ebay, but they all seemed to be expensive for second-hand. Then I saw Louie and stalked him, and won.
He was a bargain..he was about £85 including postage if I remember correctly. He had the optional skein winder, six bobbins (three of them not Louet ones but good for storage) and some weaving equipment with it which I promptly put into the attic and forgot about till this moment. He was in perfect working order too...so why was he so cheap?
Well, it could be because Louie isn`t just any old wheel. He`s been customised. His first owner must have loved him very much, because she obviously spent a lot of time giving him a unique hand-painted finish. The only trouble is, she wasn`t that good at painting.
Judge for yourself...front view, with date. He might be older than this of course because the Louet S10 was first made in 1974.
Flyer and bobbin view. This is the original flyer that you can now buy as the chunky/bulky flier. Modern S10s have a slightly lighter flyer, in keeping with the current trend for spinning finer yarns than in the 70`s.
I trust you noticed the huge orifice? I can stick my smallest finger through that orifice. Who needs an orifice hook? And of course it`s ideal for spinning chunky designer yarns.
I hope you also noticed the double-ended early Louet bobbin. Huge, isn`t it? The modern bobbin is just as huge but has a sheaf of three ratios on the end. Louets have Irish tension..ie they`re bobbin led. The drive band loops over the whorl and drives the bobbin and the necessary speed differential between the bobbin and the flyer is provided by braking the flyer, using the leather brake band at the bottom of the flier. Bobbin-led wheels have a very strong take-up because of this, btw, but it can be regulated by loosening the brake band off ...you can even remove it completely for very fine spinning. The flyer is heavy enough to provide a bit of a brake by itself.
Finally I hope you noticed in that picture why it is not a good idea to give bobbins a fancy finish that will wear off.....
Okay, frontal view.
As I said above...loving hands at home look, isn`t it? I think it must have put a lot of folk off bidding...I nearly was, but then I thought he would be worth buying as a practice wheel. But you know something? The "artwork" has grown on me. It has character. The kids loved it the minute they saw it. There`s no way I`m going to change it now. When a man is "ugly" by conventional standards this isn`t a good reason not to appreciate his finer qualities and love him for who and what he is, is it? Same for wheels. I love my Louie. He`s tough and spins great chunky, can survive the attentions of thirty small children all wanting to play with him, you can spin for hours on him without getting tired and he`s got a huge bobbin capacity. Yet he`ll even spin laceweight if you talk to him sweetly enough. And of course he`s very low maintenence. My favourite wheel.
And finally, the icing on the cake...a matching skeinwinder!
He`s just one of a kind.