Echo User Guide

Written by Amelia Garripoli (2010) / Updated by Ashley Martineau (2015)

The Echo Spinning Wheel by SpinOlution combines traditional functionality, innovative features, and an economical footprint. SpinOlution wheels use a pitman to drive the wheel. The pitman guide is located on the inside of the footman, driving the pitman bearing, which is mounted on the drive wheel.

Echo Features

  • Magnetic Orifice
  • Magnetic Bobbins with Leader Thread Loop
  • Open, By-passable orifice hook
  • Durable Nylon Flyer Pegs
  • Cordless Scotch Tension Brake
  • Rocker Treadles
  • Built-In Carrying Handle
  • Three head sizes to choose from: 4 oz, 8 oz, and 16 oz.

Unpacking your Echo

Your Echo will arrive packed in a medium-large box. Lift out any covering pieces of packing material, then check carefully – the wheel stabilizers, wheel head, drive band, scotch brake, and any extra accessories will be tucked in amidst the packing material. Look through the packing material to be sure you have taken all of the items out of your box. 

  • Wheel Base
  • Wheel Feet (2)
  • 4 screws for attaching Wheel Feet
  • Assembled Wheel Head (Head, Bobbin, Flyer, Orifice Bar)
  • Drive Band (may be attached to Wheel Base
  • Additional Bobbins and Accessories (if ordered)

Assembling Your Echo

You will need a Phillips screwdriver or an electric drill with a Phillips screwdriver bit to assemble the wheel. A screw tip: after each few twists in, loosen the screw back out a turn, then continue. This helps it seat well.

  1. First, lay the wheel body down so that the engraved large logo side is on the floor (the small logo faces up).
  2. Now, we will attach the wheel stabilizers. There is a left and right stabilizer; put them on so that the cut-out in the stabilizer fits onto the body, lining up the pre-drilled holes in stabilizer and body. Each rest is held in place with two screws.
  3. Start by putting one stabilizer in position. Thread a screw through a finishing washer, then screw it into one of the pre-drilled hole on the stabilizer and on into the pre-drilled hole in the base of the wheel. Do this with each pre-drilled hole, screw, and finishing washer, two for each stabilizer.
  4. Put both stabilizers on, then stand the wheel on its base to attach the head.
  5. Next, put on the drive band. Put it on one of the pulley grooves at the back of the flyer, and bring it down to the wheel. You will need to pull the treadles forward at the base of the footman to put the drive band around the drive wheel. Slip it between the pitman bearing and the footman once the treadles are pulled forward.
  6. Put the treadles back in place, and then stretch the drive band around the drive wheel.
  7. The Echo has a groove for the drive band on the drive wheel. Move it to the desired pulley groove on the flyer.
  8. To ensure a good seating of the pitman guide on the pitman bearing, pull the treadles forward at the base of the footman and re-seat the pitman guide on the pitman bearing. You can rotate the drive wheel to match up the position of the pitman bearing to the pitman guide.
  9. Before spinning, check that the drive bands are set up for the ratio you desire. The lowest ratio, 3:1, is used by putting the drive band in the largest pulley groove on the flyer. The drive band stays in the groove on the drive wheel no matter which flyer pulley is selected.

Treadling your Echo

The Echo uses a treadling system unique to SpinOlution wheels. It is a left-right treadling, with the ball of each foot on each treadle. Place the ball of each foot, or just toes, on each treadle. Depress one treadle fully, and then the other. Your heels rest on the floor (or if requested, the heelrests) in front of the treadles, only your toes need to go up and down. If you try to push down a treadle with one foot before the other treadle has gone completely down, you will find the treadle difficult to push. With a little practice, you will soon find where each side is completely depressed and adapt your rhythm to the upswing of the other treadle.

Treadling moves the drive wheel, which turns the flyer when the drive band is properly placed. If the wheel or the flyer is not moving, or it feels like you are pushing a refrigerator, check that the drive band is in a pulley groove on the flyer whorl, not resting on the flyer spindle behind the grooves. The treadling is very light on the lowest ratios; it will take hardly any effort at all to keep the wheel going. You may be able to keep the wheel spinning with only the toes of one foot treadling on one treadle. The amount of effort needed increases slightly on the higher ratios, though still less than that used on traditional treadled wheels.

The Echo drive wheel is stopped by holding your feet still on the treadles. If both feet exert slight downward pressure at the same time, then the drive wheel cannot rotate, so it halts, halting the flyer. The bobbin may continue to spin just briefly, as its braking system is separate from the treadling system. As with all wheels, practice treadling your wheel until you can start it going the direction you desire. 

Setting the Ratio

If you are just learning to spin, start at the lowest ratio and increase as you find your drafting speed increases. I recommend moving the drive band to the highest ratio at the end of each spinning session, so that the band can “recover” from being stretched. This maintains its elasticity so it will be ready for you, when you are ready for spinning at the higher ratios.


4 oz speeds: 3 (4)
4 oz ratios: 1:3.5, 1:5.5, 1:9 (1:17)

8 oz speeds: 4
8 oz ratios: 1:2.5, 1:4, 1:5, 1:8

16 oz speeds: 3
16 oz ratios: 1:4, 1:5, 1:8




Flyer Pegs

SpinOlution wheels use pegs rather than  hooks – no more getting fibers or boucle loops caught on the tip of a hook as you spin. And it has an orifice hook rather than the traditional orifice tube – no need for an orifice threader.

Adjusting the Tension

Tension on the bobbin is controlled by adjusting the knob at the top of the wheel. Clockwise rotation of the knob increases the brake pressure, and counterclockwise rotation decreases it. Very minor adjustments are needed to fine-tune the tension so only use full rotations for the initial adjustment.

The brake knob screws onto a threaded rod; it pushes on a spring, which pushes on a nylon flange, which in turn pushes on a wooden block. The wooden block goes into the flyer mounting; on its inside edge, it is curved, and has a piece of suede attached. The suede pushes on the rod (technically, the flyer spindle) that the bobbin rides on. About once a year (or when you notice the brake not being as effective), undo the brake knob completely, and take the spring, flange, and wooden block off. Check the suede – over time its rough surface is smoothed; if needed, rough it up with a stiff-toothed comb, an emery board, your fingernail, or coarse sandpaper.

To set the initial bobbin tension, start by twisting the knob until there is no pressure on the spring resting on it, so that any more clockwise twisting of the knob would cause the spring to start to compress.

Bring the leader to the orifice by taking it from the bobbin out to a peg directly to the side from it, then forward outside the remaining pegs to the front of the flyer arms, and from there under the orifice hook and toward you. Hold the leader straight from the orifice hook toward you, not at an angle. See the picture at the start of „Working with Open Threading‟ on the previous page.

Always go along all the pegs from the first one you come to, to the front of the flyer arm.

A great SpinOlution feature is that you will not have to adjust the tension when you change bobbins – most Scotch tension wheels put the brake band on a groove in the bobbin, so you have to remove the brake band, and then replace it, when you change bobbins. Not so with the Echo.

The Echo is a Scotch tension wheel. Adjusting the brake knob changes the brake pressure on the bobbin via the flyer spindle. The flyer spindle turns independently from the flyer arms, making this a true Scotch Tension, slowing the bobbin, not the flyer arms (Irish tension brakes the flyer arms).

When spinning clockwise, it's best to start on the right-side pegs; counter-clockwise, start on the left-side pegs. That way, the yarn will want to stay against the pegs as you spin. You will need to stop and change pegs from time to time so that the little hills of yarn that build up don't collapse into messes on the bobbin. Move regularly toward the back and then back toward the front, up and down. You can simply take the yarn off one peg, leaving it on the rest in the row, or add it around another peg in the row. The last peg before the orifice hook is important – it prevents the yarn from rubbing against the edge of the bobbin: be sure to be outside the final peg.

Hold the yarn you are making in a line from the center of the orifice hook to you. You may find you need to increase tension slightly – only a millimeter-sized nudge at a time – as the bobbin approaches full. The fuller the bobbin is, the more it can overcome the braking pressure. This is true of any Scotch tension based flyer system.

If your ECHO is wobbling or the large wheel is scraping against the back as you spin, follow these balancing tips.


  • Yarn is not taking up on the bobbin
    • Increase the tension on the bobbin brake, turn the brake knob by 1⁄4 turns clockwise until yarn takes up. As the bobbin fills, you will find draw-in decreases – this is standard behavior in scotch tension wheels; increase the brake tension and continue filling your bobbin.
    • Check if your yarn has jumped off the pegs, it could wrap around the flyer spindle between the bobbin and orifice arm. Remove the orifice arm, unwrap this yarn, and then restart spinning.
  • Take up is too strong, yarn is pulling out of your hands too quickly
    • Decrease the tension on the bobbin brake. Turn the brake knob by miniscule increments counterclockwise once you have yarn taking onto the bobbin (1/8 turn or less). Very minor adjustments can have a large apparent effect. 
    • For very fine spinning, start with a half full bobbin and/or lace the yarn across the flyer arms like one shoe lace, to decrease the drag-in of the yarn. This is shown in the picture here. I find the half-full bobbin is the same as one lacing across the flyer arm, and that 2-3 lacings will reduce the draw in enough for very fine spinning.
    • You may find that lacing decreases draw in too much – if this occurs, give the bobbin a small nudge in the wind-on direction as you start to treadle – this is usually enough that yarn will continue to wind on as you spin.
  • Yarn is thump-thumping as you spin
    • Be sure your yarn is coming from the center of the orifice hook toward your body in a fairly straight horizontal line. This minimizes any thumping. I have found that a slight angle is possible, but I definitely don‟t put the yarn at a 45 degree angle up, down, or sideways from the center of the orifice hook.
  • Drive band is slipping
    • ncrease speed slowly, over 5-10 treadlings, from nothing to the speed you want to spin, to minimize or avoid drive band slippage. Going from zero to top speed on the very first down stroke will almost always make the drive band slip. 
    • The band may slip more in the highest ratio position if you often use it at the low ratio settings. Store your drive band in the highest ratio groove or even on the rod behind the grooves (only if the rod is oil free!) between spinning sessions to help it regain its high ratio size.
    • If you have overstretched the drive band, you may find it will recover elasticity by removing it and placing it in a warm room for a few days. As a last resort, consider cutting and re-gluing them shorter – but be sure to let them dry completely before using, or they will separate under the strain of being used on your wheel. New drive bands can be purchased from your dealer. In a pinch, try cotton carpet warp or string until your replacement bands arrive.
  • Replacing a drive band
    • If you need to replace the drive band, it can be removed and replaced on the Echo by pulling the treadles forward to make a gap between it and the drive wheel. Grasp the treadles at the base of the footman, on both sides, and pull it gently forward. It should move forward about one inch.
  • Flyer does not rotate as you treadle
    • Check that the drive band is in one of the grooves on the back of the flyer, and not on the metal rod behind them.
  • Treadling is hard
    • Check if the brake band tension is set too strong; check if something's gotten under the treadles, jamming them; check if one of the foot brakes is pressing against the drive wheel; check if the drive band is out of the grooves on the flyer; try sitting closer to the wheel; if you are on the highest ratio, try switching to the lowest ratio for a few minutes to stretch the band just a bit, and then returning to the highest ratio; or if you are trying to start fast, start with a slower first few treadles, increasing speed gradually over the first few treadlings.
    • If treadling is still difficult, check for wear on the pitman guide or a loose pitman bearing. Pull the footman forward to access the pitman bearing. Rotate the footman off the pitman bearing to check the pitman guide. If the screw holding the bearing has worked loose, remove it and put some white glue on the end of the screw before putting it back in (avoid getting any on the pitman bearing). Screw it in tight, but be sure the pitman bearing can still turn freely. If the walls of the pitman guide are worn, follow the advice in the next tip.
  • A knocking sound when treadling
    • The pitman guide, on the inside of the footman, can get worn, causing the pitman (a bearing) on the drive wheel to knock. You can reduce or remove the knocking sound by putting one coat of clear nail polish or light glue on the inside of the pitman guide. Let it dry completely before putting it back on the pitman.
  • Uneven or noisy treadling... check for damage where the footman connects to the drive wheel – grasp the treadles at the base of the footman and slide them forward, exposing the pitman ball bearing on the drive wheel, as shown in „Assembling your Echo‟. Make sure the ball bearing‟s screw is completely screwed in, and that the pitman guide on the inside of the footman is not damaged – it is a regular flat-sided oval. You will need to contact SpinOlution for information on addressing any damage here.

Maintaining your Echo

  • Finish: Your Echo has a polyurethane finish, and so can be cleaned with a light dusting as needed.
  • Oiling: the Echo in general does not need oiling, working on sealed bearings and its unique keyed bobbin system. You may find a light coating of oil on the flyer spindle and the bobbin pegs helps you slide the bobbins on and off more easily. If a squeak develops on your wheel, locate the source. Metal-on-metal squeaks can usually be resolved with a small drop of oil.
  • Brake Block: As needed, check the suede on the inside end of the brake block as described in "Adjusting the Tension‟

Technical Specifications

  • Furniture grade Birch plywood with a polyurethane finish
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Orifice height: 25 in.
  • Drive wheel: 16 in. diameter, 1 in. thick
  • Bobbin capacity: up to 4 ounces plied yarn
  • Height 28.5 in
  • Width 19.25 in
  • Depth 12 in

Additional Video Resources

About The Author. Amelia Garripoli has been spinning and blogging since 2001, when she purchased a house that came with two llamas. She blogs as Ask The Bellwether and is an active mentor in several online forums.

Ashley Martineau has been spinning since 2003 and is the author of Spinning and Dyeing Yarn. She is the Providence/Boston area SpinOlution Dealer and a SpinOlution Associate Partner. You can find her teaching spinning classes online at How to Spin Yarn