For me spinning isn’t always an at-home activity; between fiber festivals, workshops, spin-in’s, and demo’s, it’s also a mobile event.
My first try at a mobile wheel was the Louet Victoria. It’s hard to beat her for mobility. She folds up quickly into her little case and unfolds just as fast. Really, it’s lightning quick. But, I never could get into a solid groove with her.
My first issue is just the size of the wheel. Now, at just under 5’2″, I’m not a large person by any means, but sitting comfortably at this little wheel was something that I just couldn’t seem to manage. But an even larger issue for me was the twist and take-up control. I could never quite fine the sweet spot. After taking it to several events, I found myself making excuses to not bring it. That’s about the time I realized that this wheel just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy spinning on her at all. Luckily, the spinning community tends to be a buy/sell group and it found a new home very quickly.
The Schacht SideKick took her place. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the look of the Schacht wheels. I appreciate a more traditional look of a spinning wheel. But, a few months ago, with all of the hype about the Flatiron, I took the plunge and ordered one. I fell in love. Spinning is like butter…but that’s another story. So, being SO impressed with the Flatiron, how could I not try the SideKick?
Breaking it down for transportation isn’t nearly as fast as the Victoria. But I really enjoy the way that it spins. After the Flatiron (and even on my Kiwi wheel) I know that I don’t like to treadle fast. I enjoy a relaxed spinning experience. Fast treadling feels more like a workout than a relaxing experience. And, while the need for a workout might be the case, I certainly don’t WANT a workout if I don’t have to have one. The Sidekick has a 13.7″ drive wheel, which is nice. It comes with two whorls and for me the higher speed whorl is a must for this little wheel. The larger whorl’s ratios of 5.7 & 6.8 :1 could work for plying or thick fluffy yarns perhaps, but the faster 8 & 9:1 were much more comfortable.
While the treadling isn’t as effortless as the Flatiron is in Double Drive, it’s still smooth and easy – much smoother than the Victoria. The take-up is gentle and easy to control.
I really appreciated that it came assembled and ready to go. I was up and spinning in less than ten minutes and it was comfortable from the very beginning.
The SideKick’s first outing will probably be either a local Spinzilla event or Lambtown. But I’m already enjoying it as a regular spinner at home… what a great wheel.