Nicky Adkins

Making, Doing and Mending

Blog for Nicky Adkins, at Nicky Adkins Handmade

Converting an Ashford Traditional wheel to double treadle

I've found more and more that the spinning I enjoy the most is fine spinning, to create sock-weight yarns. Psychologists would probably say that this is probably due to the fact that I mostly knit with sock-weight yarn, but that's far too logical and simplistic. It feels as though I get to see a greater range in the fibre when I spin finely, and I love watching it build up on the bobbin, then delight in plying it and getting something that looks different again.  

Hermione, my Traditional wheel, only had a single treadle, and when going at speed on a high ratio I'd have to put both my feet on the treadle and bounce my legs up and down. This did not go down terribly well with Mina, my feline spinning buddy. When I played with Kizzy, my Traveller, for a couple of hours/days, I'd always miss the double treadle when switching back. There was, however, a simple solution to this problem. Treadle conversion! Luckily, Ashford do a kit. But just buying that would be FAR TOO SIMPLE. There must be more challenge! So I set myself the goal of only buying the kit when I'd made enough money from my little Etsy shop on the side. It would essentially pay for itself. This last week I stumbled on an excellent buyer who decided that she wanted three of my rarer wool holders and then I knew it was time. But then, that would have been too simple. A quick bit of research revealed a used conversion on eBay. I regularly search for spinning wheels and accessories while combing the listings for vintage knitting equipment, but this was the first time I'd ever seen a treadle kit listed. IT MUST BE FATE, I thought. So I bought it.  

And today it arrived, swathed in bubble wrap from the kind seller who accepted my offer on it. Hurrah, I thought. Of course, there were no instructions. I reasoned that it couldn't be that hard, and set about with a hammer, a drill bit conveniently the same diameter as the hub pin, and a hex key. Usually, this is a recipe for if not disaster, then at least several hours of swearing, hitting things, and an eventual trip to the hardware shop. But it is testament to the quality of Ashford wheels that within an hour, Hermione had a double treadle up and running.  


What a lovely pair

What a lovely pair

Check. Them. Out. Fun times. 

This was the bit that caused the most swearing:  




Getting the cam rod through the hub. Trying to get it through, while holding up the wheel and trying to get it at the right angle to go all the way through was a little fiddly, with plenty of opportunity for getting fingers trapped. I was about five minutes away from asking my Beloved for help, but persevered and was rewarded. It was even fairly easy to get the pin lined up and bashed through with a hammer!  

So, thank you Ashford, for making such good things.