Recently I’ve had several questions from different people about whether they are a right handed or left handed spinner. This questions usually preceeds a discussion about what side the flyer on their saxony wheel should be on.
There is some disagreement among spinning teachers about what constitutes right handed or left handed spinning. Some say the forward hand is what determines it and some say the hand that holds the fiber is the determining factor. And it doesn’t always match the hand that the spinner uses for writing and other things.
I’m going to say I don’t care to label spinning as right or left handed. There are a couple of reasons I want to avoid this altogether. First, is because it doesn’t really matter in the end what you call it and second, I think it tends to be confusing because so many people have different opinions.
What does matter is if you are spinning in such a way that you are getting the control and the results you want. There have been many times that I’ve been teaching beginning spinning or a new technique and a certain student is having a very difficult time. I have often recommended they switch which hand is their forward hand and then sometimes, things seem to click.
Some instructors also think that your dominant hand should be your forward hand with short forward draw. I am the opposite. I like to always have my fiber hand be the same regardless of what kind of drafting method I’m using. Since the first day I sat at a spinning wheel, I have held the fiber in my right hand, which is my dominant hand and used my left hand for pinching during short forward draw or supported long draw.
With spindle spinning I am completely opposite of this. My right hand sets the spindle to spinning and then does the drafting while my left hand holds the fiber.
So, when you are thinking of buying a saxony wheel you need to take your fiber hand into consideration. The flyer of the saxony wheel should be opposite the hand that holds the fiber. Seriously, It’s more comfortable that way. If you hold youf fiber in your right hand then you want a flyer on the left wheel. Lucky for you, almost every saxony wheel is made this way. Old ones and new ones.
The reason the flyer should be opposite your fiber hand is so that when you are drafting with long draw or supported long draw the yarn should be coming from the orifice accross the front of your body. This will make it so that you don’t have to twist your body to get a good length of yarn per make.
As far as I know, there are only two major spinning wheel manufacturing companies that will make a saxony wheel with a flyer on the right side. Those companies are Schacht Spindle and Lendrum. Ashford used to do it but if I recall, they have stopped doing it. So if you hold your fiber in your left hand and want a saxony style wheel then Schacht, Lendrum or one of the specialty wheel makers will have to do. Otherwise, stick with your castle wheel.