How to Treadle
You will probably treadle a little too fast when you first start spinning. Most new spinners worry that the wheel will stop if they do not treadle quickly—and it can! However, with practice, you can make the wheel move smoothly.
You should aim for a rate of about 70 turns per minute. Although all wheels treadle a little differently, generally, the bigger the wheel, the slower you have to treadle.
When treadling, place your foot flat on the treadle. Be careful not to lift your toes or your heel. The following treadle exercises are for both a single and a double treadle.
1Start the wheel by pushing firmly on the spokes with your hand.
Do not push on the top of the wheel, because this can knock the drive band off.
2Turn the wheel to the right with your hand.
Think of the wheel as the face of a clock.
3When the footman comes up to the one o’clock position, push the wheel to the right and press down firmly with your foot.
Practice treadling this way until the motion feels smooth and predictable. This is the direction used for most spinning. It puts a right-hand twist in the yarn.
If you are using a new wheel, oil it while you are treadling to help the wheel run more smoothly.
5Give the wheel a push to the left with your hand, and at the same time, press down firmly with your foot.
Keep treadling until you can move the wheel smoothly to the left. This direction is used mostly for plying and making novelty yarns.
Practice treadling the wheel to the right again. Switch to the left without using your hands. Although you never need to switch between right and left treadling when you are actually spinning, being able to do so helps you learn to control the wheel.
Your hands and feet move in different rhythms when you spin on a wheel; it is like waltzing with your hands and marching with your feet. Your hands move faster than your feet, and so if you treadle too fast, you will have a hard time keeping up with your hands.