It's been a long wait, but my new spinning wheel finally arrived on Wednesday and I was able to grab it after work. Introducing Chorlton:
Those trailing strings are my bobbin leaders. The box had a handle, which made carrying it a breeze. This is important when you're lugging a bulky box weighing 17 pounds from car, up the stairs to the porch, into the house, and not dropping it on the nearest cat. Assembling it took about five minutes, de-assembling, putting the drive belt on, and re-assembling took another five, then I was good to go. Bolt on the treadles, lazy kate holder, and flyer, snap the wheel strut on, and you're away. The instructions for assembly are terse, and there's a brief "how to spin" pamphlet included, along with 8oz of Finn roving from Britain. I was given 4oz of cream alpaca and an oil bottle by the Weaving Department when I picked it up, planning to blend them as I spin. I have no idea how to do this, but wild optimism seems the way to go.
Louet vs. Ashford
Since I've had wheels from both, this is a compare and contrast of first impressions. The Ashford Kiwi had a lot of paper with it. Assembly instructions, a little "how to spin" book, an Ashford catalogue, a newsletter, lots to read. The Louet had very little, but did include 8oz of roving. The Louet was mostly assembled in the box, and it looks very solid, where the Kiwi came in pieces. There was no orifice hook with the Louet, so I'm improvising with a paperclip. The wheel wants to stop in a particular position which is ideal for spinning, but not for plying. Not that I've spun enough to ply yet, the bobbins are bigger than the Kiwi (6oz vs. 4oz) and I'm spinning thin singles. Both wheels came with a tool for assembly, but the Louet tool didn't have much work to do. I preferred the Ashford lazy kate, it's a standalone thing where the Louet is a metal attachment that slips onto the frame. They are both good wheels, but I much prefer the Louet. A first skein will be shown soon.