Inside the Schacht Ladybug Design Team

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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.

LB team Filip

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.

LB team Cindy

 

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.)

LB team Barry

Barry Schacht lends his superb design sensibilities to the overall function and look of the wheel. His excellent component sleuthing and procurement have been instrumental in the details of the design.

LB team Jane

 

My primary function has been to keep the project going and to act as the product and consumer advocate. I also monitor the functioning of the wheel.

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960's and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.