Last week I came home from the Spring Retreat and came to work on Tuesday and found two new wheels waiting for me to assemble and play with. I’m starting with an overview of the new Majacraft Aura. I say overview because this wheel is so interesting that I think I will be playing with it and experimenting for a long time.
The assembly was pretty straight forward and since I’ve assembled many Majacraft wheels I caught on quick.
My first impression was that it’s really pretty with clean lines and before I even took it for a spin I was telling Chelsea that this was going to be the shop’s wheel and wasn’t going anywhere. (Behind it is the new Kromski Fantasia which I will talk about in the next couple of days.)
The first thing I noticed was the unusual flyer and the huge bobbin which is the same size as the bulky flyer bobbins. It also has a double drive setup that is really smart. Some people have been doing a version of this on their traditional DD wheels but to adjust correctly.
This setup allows each band to be adjusted separately to give a way to the spinner to affect both the strength of pull and speed of pull onto the bobbin by adjusting the height of the head and also the tension on the bobbin drive string.
The knob on the right is the adjustment for the bobbin drive string and you can see the bolt in the center so that adjusting the head height is pretty easy.
Here’s a closer view of the head and the two separate whorls. The green stretchy band drives the flyer.
This flyer and orifice are great. Thread as above for thicker yarns and yarns that have add ins or are lumpy such as core spun or thick coils.
Threaded this way takes away any thumping that may happen so the spinner can spin the finest of yarns without issue.
The bobbin has two holes drilled so it doesn’t spin freely on the bobbin shaft.
This is a view of how the bobbin is seated on the shaft. You can see the sealed bearing that make the spinning very smooth.
Another new thing that I like, even though it is a tiny addition, is this bumper so when the wheel is folded for carrying it stops and the flyer doesn’t touch the treadle.
This is a view of the head with the Suzie Whorl…the experimenting has begun.
The ratios available standard with the Aura are 4.1:1, 5.4:1 and 7.3:1. Not fast at all and definitely meant for thicker yarns.
I changed the standard whorl with the Suzie whorl. Since the wheel diameters are the same between the two wheels I can say that the new ratios where 4.4, 6.9, 10, 13.1, and 16:1
I tried the fasted whorl size and was not thrilled. The difference in size between the flyer whorl and bobbin whorl was too much and the take up could not be adjusted low enough to spin the gossamer yarn I wanted to spin. At the 13.1:1 ratio things got better and 10:1 was very easy.
I did 4 sample yarns and was able to do the whole spectrum. Of course the drafting was slower than my usual speed with the finest yarn but it was very easy.
This wheel treadles like you would expect from a Majacraft. The look is fantastic. The new tensioning system is genius and works like a dream for sock weight and higher yarns (though with more experimenting I could change my mind here to the finer yarns). I mostly did my experiments on the fine end of the yarn spectrum. Why, you say? Well, because I knew it was designed with the help of Lexi Boeger and so I was confident in its ability to do bumpy, thick, irregular and interesting yarns. I wanted to see if it could work for the yarns I love to spin.
To get little or no takeup, which I want with fine yarns, the whorl sizes have to be more similar in size but this slows the spinning due to the low ratios. The wheel comes with only 3 bobbins and no kate of any kind.
The price of the wheel in the US is $963 which is about $80 higher than the price of Rose. I definitely think it is worth the money and as time goes by and accessories are available to make lace spinning easier it will become even more attractive.
I like this wheel. It is interesting and easy to spin on. For fine yarns I will stick with my 30″ Schacht-Reeves. But this new Aura will be in my collection right along side that wheel.