If you don’t get my literary allusion in the blog title, Don’t Panic. You can Google it.
This is the HitchHiker™. See the cutout in the handle?
And this is its maker, David Paul of The Merlin Tree in Albany, VT, at his booth at Maryland Sheep and Wool.
Paul developed the HitchHiker™ and the RoadBug ™ spinning wheels four years ago because his wife and the other spinners in her guild wanted spinning wheels they could carry on airplanes.
When the wheels were under development, a guild member posted a photo of the prototype on her blog. The results, Paul says, were numerous advance orders and deposits—and ironically a longer wait for the guild members’ original orders. Now there are 660 of his spinning wheels worldwide.
After filling me in on why he is understandably blog-shy, Paul described the two wheels’ attributes. Each feature seemed to be tied to making the wheels work from a spinner's perspective or a construction perspective or both. The bobbins are compatible with standard Ashford bobbins for convenience. The flyers, which use Scotch tension, are large to give extra room for plying. He expects experienced spinners will need to get used to the wheels’ pull and the treadles’ heel and toe action. These wheels are designed to be carry-on compatible and each weighs about nine pounds. They can be pulled out of a carry bag and used without unfolding or set-up.