Friday, September 02, 2011

Ashford Limited Edition 30" Elizabeth

Before I start talking about the new wheels I got in this week I just wanted to show you a bit of spinning that isn't a natural .  I've begun working again on the Mythos sweater I started last year.  I am almost to the halfway point and realized I won't have enough yarn so I spun up another 350 yards. It's three ply.

I've done a bit of searching and it seems I never talked about this project here on the blog.  Here is the link to the pattern.  I've spun some Australian wool top dyed by Chelsea.  If you are a member of Ravelry, the thread is in the Spinning Loft Group.  I talked about making Mythos and also Tappan Zee.  Tappan Zee is finished and I love it.  
I wear this sweater a lot.  It's practical and pretty. The pattern has no sleeves but I added 3/4 length sleeves to it.  The top is made from merino batts blended by Abby and the light pink is Corriedale/Alpaca dyed by Amy King.
Time to finish Mythos.

A little background on the Ashford Elizabeth.  I am a fan.  When I heard in the spring there would be a limited edition of 30 Inch wheels available I immediately asked for 2 with the double treadle option.  They are here now!  This post could be considered a review of both the 24 inch Elizabeth as well as the limited edition 30" as they are basically the same except for the drive wheel size.  (Also, the 30" has a split bench and the 24" wheel sits completely above the bench.....)
The grey plastic knob allows the spinner to adjust the position of the Mother of All to be in alignment with the drive wheel.  It has the capability of Scotch Tension as well as Double Drive.  I didn't try to set it up in Irish Tension.  I should try it.  Based on the position of the spring and brake band I'm not sure it will work very well though.  I'll check.

The larger knob here is for adjusting the position of the Mother of All for loosening and tightening the drive band.  The one on the right is the orifice hook which is stored there.  Here are my two little picky things about this.  If adjusting the MoA position I need to remove the hook as the handles are too close together for my hands.  Also, I am right handed and the hook is on the left sid of the bench when I am spinning so it's inconvenient to grab.

Under the bench there is another grey plastic knob which is tightened when the spinner gets the drive band tension just right.  Tightening this knob keeps the Mother of All from wiggling out of place.

Also under the bench is the signature which reads Richard and Elizabeth Ashford.  The 24" Elizabeths are not signed. (yes, it's up side down.)

This phot shows  the crank and where the crank shaft enters the uprights.  You can see the sealed bearings sitting in the upright.  There is one on each side of the drive wheel.  This addition makes this wheel spin effortlessly.  It makes such a huge difference in the spinning.  Really.
The crank design is pretty good but for me makes for a treadle stroke that I wish was a bit longer.  Again, that is a very picky complaint and not a HUGE problem.

Here she is from the audience side amidst all of the packing material I removed from the drive wheel.
And a view from the spinner's side.  So pretty.
This wheel came with the Ashford Competition Kate.  I love this lazy kate.  It's in my top 5 kates.  It's tensioned and very portable.  I was excited to see this included with this wheel.

So here are my thoughts.  I love this wheel.  I think for anyone looking for a production size spinning wheel or a wheel to spin fast and fine, this is a real contender.  As I said, treadling is  effortless and spinning on this wheel for long lengths of time would be not tiring at all.  
The flyer has 3 whorl sizes which give ratios of 10.5:1, 13.5:1 and 18:1.  There is a high speed kit available which would speed things up significantly but I found the 18:1 to be pretty great.  For longdraw spinning I'm sure I would want the faster ratios.
And one more very picky thing (and I say this about many Ashford products). I do not love the plastic/nylon knobs.  Just throws me a bit.  I'm glad the color has been changed in the last few years so they kind of blend into the background.
As you can see, I only had a few very picky things.  I definitely would own this wheel.

This is very tempting...do I need another wheel?

4 comments:

autumnviewacres said...

I agree with you on the plastic knobs. Kinda throws in a little cheap feel to it. But other than that gorgeous wheel and it is signed. A big plus. I need to get in there and try some wheels.

WonderWhyGal said...

As much as I love my Lendrum, my first wheel was a used Ashford Elizabeth ST and I LOVE it. I still use it and it's so beautiful.

Brittany Whittenberg said...

Hi, I run a non-profit group called W.E.L.L. (Women Empowered and
Loving Life). We've got a craft event going on until the end of
October making slippers for women and kids in battered shelters. We're
coming up pretty shy on the number of actual slippers donated, and so
we're trying to involve local teachers and groups. Please check out
the event, and please pass the info no to any/all people you know who
might be interested. It's easy to help and a great cause.

Thanks for your time,
-Brittany Whittenberg
well.neworleans@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/?sk=inbox&action=read&tid=id.233097890055634#!/event.php?eid=228661383821823
http://womenempoweredandlovinglife.weebly.com/index.html

June said...

And now one of them is MINEALLMINE!!!!!! I agree completely on this review too. Now to knit a little cozy to cover the gray knob.