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The Ladybug Design Team
July 17, 2007
You may have seen and heard about the Ladybug Spinning Wheel we’re working on. She’s getting quite the buzz out there, and we’re really excited about how the wheel is developing. We’re having a blast with the design process and I thought you’d like a look inside Schacht.
Filip Sokol has been instrumental in following through on the technical details of the Ladybug’s design. He has been in charge of prototyping and refining ideas.
The Ladybug started with me in the sales department. I knew what kind of product I wanted to offer. It needed to be in a certain price range and have particular criteria. My memo to the design team specified these things: it had to be cute, be a true double treadle, have at least a 16” drive wheel, come with three bobbins, have at least a 3/8” orifice, be portable, be stable but lightweight, use Scotch tension, offer an attached lazy kate, share interchangeable bobbins with the Matchless, and offer drive ratios between 7:1 and 15:1. For inspiration, I came up with a working title, “Ladybug”, and as it turns out, it eventually became the name.
Cindy Lair considers the production aspects of the Ladybug’s manufacture. She is one of our in-house spinning wheel techs (her first job at Schacht was to assemble Matchless wheels) and lends creative ideas to the process.
Our design team of four is made up of our technical manager, Filip Sokol; production manager Cindy Lair; founder and president, Barry Schacht; and me, vice president of sales and service. What has been wonderful about our team is that we each offer a different perspective and expertise. From this we have moved forward to create a truly unique product that meets the critieria I wanted, and in fact, has surpassed my expectations. Getting feedback has been an important component of our process: we’ve taken the Ladybug on visits to our local weaving shop, TNNA (The National Needlework Association), and Midwest Weavers Conference. What we observed in the field as well as comments from both expert and novice spinners and Schacht dealers allowed us to refine the design in ways we couldn’t have otherwise. The cuteness factor has made the design process fun, and Barry has come up with a delightful detail that will make every wheel one-of-a-kind. “Where’s my ladybug?”
At this point, all the details have been ironed out, and we’re ordering components and materials for its manufacture. We’re anticipating a November release, so watch for the appearance of the Ladybug at your favorite spinning supplier. (If you want a sneak preview, we’ll be showing her at SOAR—the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat—this fall.)