Refer to image on this page for parts of a spinning wheel: http://joyofhandspinning.com/parts-of-the-spinning-wheel/
The way I teach new wheel spinners to spin is to first get comfortable with operating the wheel. You don’t even work with any fiber at this point. The object is to work the treadle and develop a rhythm, the wheel’s heartbeat so to speak, so that the drive wheel (aka fly wheel) turns slowly. Anyone can ‘speed treadle’ however you will not be able to draft your fiber quickly enough to create yarn at that quick pace.
Different wheels have different treadle patterns. Some operate better with a quick downward push of your toe when the conrod (aka footman) reaches just past top center. Others like a toe & heel operation. Spending time learning the heart beat of your wheel will show you what the treadling pattern works best on your wheel.
Once you can treadle slowly and keep the wheel moving in the same direction at a slow speed, stop your wheel using nothing but your feet. When you are spinning, there will be plenty of times you will need to quickly stop the wheel and your hands will be full of fiber! Knowing how to stop using only your feet will help you out greatly. Now try to start your wheel, again using nothing but your feet. In a short amount of time, if you are working on just your treadling and concentrating on where your feet are when you stop and start, you will be able to do these actions without thinking. When you start spinning, your mind will be on the fiber and your hands will be busy with that. Having previously developed the muscle memory in your feet of being able to stop and start your wheel will lead to one less frustration as you begin to learn to spin.
This is the part of spinning my students dislike the most because it’s boring … they want to jump directly into spinning fiber. 90% of the time, once they do jump into spinning and get frustrated, they go back to just practicing their treadling.
Next up is getting used to having the fiber run through your hands and learning the tensioning nuances of your wheel. Once again, we’re not spinning yet.
Remove the yarn that is currently on your bobbin. (Let it come directly from the bobbin. You can wind it into a ball or around your elbow & hand to make a skein.) Next, thread commercial yarn through the orifice, over the hooks & tie to the bobbin. You will want no tension on the brake band at all. Start treadling. Increase the tension on the brake every so slightly by turning the long, white knob (I’m assuming it turns) until you feel the yarn start to move from your hands on to the bobbin. Keep treadling and let the yarn wind on to the bobbin holding onto the yarn with a slight grip.
Keep an eye on your bobbin. You do not want to fill up one end quickly but disperse the yarn over the whole bobbin evenly. To do this, you must stop the wheel and change the yarns position to a different hook.
The reason this step in learning to spin is important is two-fold: it teaches you the tensioning of your wheel and the 2nd frustration beginning spinners have is not letting go of the fiber to feed onto the wheel.
Above all else, Have Fun!
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Be sure to tag me, ( type in @ and my username should pop up) since I don’t frequent the board that often, which is why @salmonmac always has to tag me! (Thanks again!)