Thursday, 7 June 2012

Louet S70 and Louet S15

I have found that images of some spinning wheels are more easily found on the internet than others. So here are two classic Louet spinning wheels that are not in production and less easily found.

(Click on the image to see it larger.)

On the right is an S15, made in beech with a plywood drive wheel. It was orginally finished in a thick dark varnish which you can still see on one of the bobbins on the lazy kate. I don't know how old this wheel is, I know of at least 2 previous owners and expect there were many more. It could be around 20 years old. It arrived something of a wreck and has had several new bearings, new brake band, flyer shaft, treadle connector, lazy kate and two new three-speed bobbins. I was pleased to find that Louet make all the parts I needed. The difference between this and the similar S10 model is that the S10 has a round hole in the wheel which compensates for the weight of the footman and treadle for steadier spinning.

On the left is an S70, made in solid oak. This model and the S71(identical apart from a dark varnish) were made for only a couple of years, 1983-1985.

The S70 is a very new addition to my collection, it arrived last week from an ebay seller in the Netherlands, beautifully flat packed in a fairly small box. The postage was over 20 euros and all paid for in beautiful postage stamps, I've cut this out to keep!

You can find some other photos of older  Louet spinning wheels on the Low Lands Legacy website. Louet themselves only have photos of the models currently in production. More detailed information can be found on the Louet North America website.

The question arises from time to time, "Why do people want these old fashioned spinning wheels?". For me, the reason is that I met the talented art yarn spinner, Daniela Klopmann, of FeltStudioUK spinning on one on her stand at Woolfest in 2010. Not only are they easy to spin on, as the heavy drive wheel has good momentum, but they are ideal for bulky art yarns. They are also popular with people who have discovered that they are fast for plying and have huge bobbins for creating big skeins. Some people I know use them only for plying. Other people use them for spinning all kinds of yarn, from lace weight to bulky. Before anyone comments: I know they aren't the easiest wheel for learning to spin fine, and I wouldn't recommend them to someone who only spins fine, but nonetheless if the spinner can spin fine, the wheel can.


Dawn said...

I love my S70 and doubt I'll ever part with it - so versatile - I use for many different spinning weights and plying and hope to expand on art yarns on it one day.

I love your last sentence - "if the spinner can spin fine, the wheel can" - so true, the wheel is the tool, the spinner controls the spinning.

Lovely to see another S70 x

Artis-Anne said...

I too love my S15 and its such a versatile wheel;it will handed down to GD in time

sam said...

Can I get some more bobbins for my S70? I love this wheel. Sam

Bodkin said...

Great to fing you have my fist wheel . No idea what it is .would you know from the picture, I will be back to follow you blog many thanks hesta

Linda CP said...

I have an S70 and I love it. I started out in 1978 with a traditional Ashford and moved up to the S70. Fortunately, I purchased 3 extra bobbins (for a total of 6) because Louet no longer makes them.

I have a friend who has had her S10 for much longer than I have had my S70, probably 35 years or so.

Linda CP said...

I've had an S70 for probably 30 years and I still love it - it spins like a dream!!! I've had to replace a little plastic piece that goes between the foot pedal and the "drive rod." And I've had to take the drive rod off it's connector to remove lots of fiber - to get rid of an awful squeak. Other than those 2 things, it has been totally maintenance free. Fortunately I purchased 3 extra bobbins many years ago, for a total of 6, as they no longer make the bobbins.

I have a friend who has had her S10 for probably 35-36 years and she is the reason I bought mine so long ago.

Thank you for the fun blog post.

Dorothy said...

Great to hear from you Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed this blog post. The S70 that I had has gone to another owner, because although it is beautiful to look at and to use I prefer the heavier drive wheel of the S15.

The S70 can use standard "S10" type flyers and bobbins, and the new art yarn flyers fit too, but of course they only come in beech and don't match, so you are very lucky to have a set of oak bobbins for your S70!

Susan Jolly said...

Thank you for your post! I found one of these locally, for an affordable price (for a self employed artisan). I didn't think a spinning wheel was something I could afford at all. I found your post, and it reassured me that what I was looking at was a decent wheel. (I mostly knit and crochet with DK on up) I also consulted the Lazyweb on the Facebook Fibre Artists and Yarn Spinners, who said "good make, great price". I am now learning on her, and I love her. She is so solid, and reliable. And small, easy to move about my fibre studio, and even into the living room for spinning in front of the telly. I like that she is rare, and hard to find, and maybe a tiny bit challenging, compared to going to a shop and trying out modern wheels until you find one you like. She needs a new brake band, but apparently the modern ones will fit. Her hooks are a little corroded, but it doesn't seem to affect her too badly, and i'm hoping they can be replaced in due course, they look like something that is relatively easily avialable. I gave her a lovely polish the other day, she is such a beautiful thing. My next lot of yarn is something I have space dyed, and is for a crochet cape for my Mu, who is poorly. My spinning is still a bit thick and thin, but I'm sure I have found the right wheel for me! I did a bit of research on the Internet, and found out that she was produced for Louet's 10th anniversary, and only made for a couple of years. I wonder how many there are in existence, and whether Louet has any more information on her. Her name is Lucy. All my devices have names!

Susan Jolly said...

I got a Louet S71 in January! My first, and so far only wheel. So far I have spun unintentional thick and thin,much double Knitting, aim Art Yarn, and at the moment, being perverse, I am trying to spin as fine as I can! Love her, she's fast, strong, and I can take her anywhere!