Good morning and happy Saturday!
Have you seen Schacht’s new Flatiron spinning wheel?
Please tell me, in all honesty, and just based on its looks, what do you think?
The first time I saw the Flatiron was in a post someone shared on Facebook. Then came the ads in Spin-Off and PLY magazines. Let’s face it, the spinning wheel market isn’t a huge one, so when someone comes out with something new, I normally find it pretty exciting. Every time I saw the Flatiron though, my reaction was “what an unfortunate looking spinning wheel.”
Being made by Schacht, I was absolutely certain that it was a fantastic spinning wheel. Like the Sham-Wow guy says about the Germans in the commercials, they make great stuff. Visually though, the Flatiron looks more like what a spinning wheel made by Ikea would look like than the Lendrum or the Louet wheels do, just not in a good way. And I’m a big fan of contemporary spinning wheel designs!
Judging something by looks alone isn’t fair. I know that. My complete opinion of the Flatiron could not be formed until I had the opportunity to try it, and that opportunity came at Rhinebeck this year. The first wheel I noticed in the Carolina Homespun booth was a 30” Schacht-Reeves which I refer to as my dream wheel. Had the flyer been on the left instead of the right, I could very easily have been coaxed into putting it on a credit card. Someday. Someday.
Then I turned and noticed a Flatiron in the booth too, set up with a spinning stool for interested spinners to have a go at, and so I did. The Flatiron was set up with the flyer on the right as well, but here’s the thing…unlike the 30” Schacht-Reeves, the Flatiron can be assembled (it comes unassembled, packed tidily in a flat box) with the flyer on either the left or right, and can be disassembled and reassembled with the flyer on either side as needed. We left the flyer on the right and even though that may not be my preference, for testing purposes it’s certainly fine.
Treadling the Flatiron was smooth and effortless, and even though the wheel is a double treadle, I had no difficulty at all treadling with just one foot. My other preference, and this applies especially to Saxony style wheels (aside from having the flyer on the right) is for a single treadle. The Flatiron is only available as a double treadle.
Treadle options aside, the Flatiron is a very versatile wheel, and versatility is a good thing. The Flatiron is capable of running in double drive, or in single drive with either flyer driven/bobbin brake or bobbin driven/flyer brake setup. This wheel was set up in single drive, flyer driven/bobbin brake, and the tension/take-up adjustments are easily made. The Flatiron also uses the same pulleys (whorls) and bobbins as the other Schacht wheels, and bobbin changes are really easy. It’s a solid, sturdy wheel weighing in at 15 pounds, and the drive wheel is plastic like Schacht’s Ladybug and Sidekick models.
All in all I think I spent about 15 or 20 minutes spinning on the Flatiron. That may not seem like a very long time and you’re right, it wasn’t. I would have loved to be able to take it home for the weekend and put it through a thorough evaluation, but in that 15 or 20 minutes I can tell you that it absolutely is a fantastic spinning wheel. I was thoroughly impressed with the Flatiron after just a short time spinning on it, as I expected to be. Visually, I still think it’s not a very attractive wheel, but that’s just my own personal opinion. There are many who absolutely love how the Flatiron looks and that is fantastic. That’s the beauty of every spinning wheel’s design. They’re all different and will have appeal (or not) to different people. Like any tool, its performance is the most important feature. No matter how pretty a wheel may be, it needs to perform well too, and the Flatiron certainly does that.
If you’re in the market for a spinning wheel and the Flatiron is in your price range, you should consider it. As always, it is good idea to try out any wheel before committing to buying it, and that can be kind of hard to do. I know we have Schacht dealers in the local-ish area and Schacht’s website may be helpful in finding one closest or most convenient to you if you want to see if anyone has a Flatiron that you can try out.
This morning I am preparing for back to back classes at Trumpet Hill. I have a Spinning 101 class this morning and an Intro to Cables/Irish Hiking Scarf knitting class in the afternoon. Beginner Spinner kits need to be put together, and samples/practice pieces for my cable knitting students need to be prepared. I also have to review my stash or print-outs to see if I have enough ready to go for both classes. I hope I do because my printer is dangerously low on ink and I cannot vouch for the quality of anything it might produce until I replace them.
Once I have everything together for my classes I can sit down and do some spinning of my own. I went through some boxes of stuff in my stash and was surprised at how much I have left of a Romney fleece I bought at least 5 years ago, with much of it still needing to be run through the drum carder. So I’m trying to work my way through as much of that as I can, and it’s going pretty quickly. I’ll have more on that next week though, so for now, have a great weekend!