Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spindle Love

So I realized this weekend that I just don't do enough posts about the spindle, or that I have ever really had the chance to tell you WHY I love spindle.  Maybe Tour de Fleece is just making me remember how much I really do love spinning with my spindle? Maybe I am just in love with my current fiber? Maybe I am just bored and looking for something to talk about? Either way, I wanted to share with you my 5 reasons why I love the drop spindle.

*Disclaimer- I, by no means, intend to offend any wheel spinners. I have NEVER spun on a wheel, so I know very little about how it works. Some of the things I  mention below may actually be even easier on a wheel for all I know. Either way, these are simply my personal opinions and ideas.*

1: The portability.
I think one of the best parts about spinning on a spindle is that I can take it anywhere and do it almost anywhere.  Take for instance the last couple of weeks I had been in charge of watching after my aunt's garden while her and my uncle were out of town. I had to let the soakers run for an hour, so I took my spindle along and got a fair amount of spinning done! If I was using a wheel, this would have been much harder.  The spindle, being so small, easily fits into my cute little Tangled bag along with some fiber and away we go!
Everything fits in my super cute Tangled Pascal Bag!

2: The ease of teaching others.
My parents and sister came up this weekend to visit.  We were bored and I needed to get some TdF work done so I decided to show my sister how to spin.  She actually caught on really fast! But after about 5 minutes and me offering to take it with her, she said "What would I do with the yarn anyways, knitting is your thing" and put it down.  Well I tried right?  The point I am trying to make is basically that anyone can be taught to use a spindle within a few short minutes, as it's really just a spinning stick.  Spinning on a wheel (although I have never tried it) seems like it would take much longer to learn and become good at.
Not so hard after all :)

3: The ease of actually spinning.
Going back to the second reason, spinning on a spindle is so easy if you are patient and your arms are ok with the maneuvers. I feel like spinning on a spindle gives me so much more control than I would have with a wheel. If I mess up, I can easily undo my mistake by spinning backwards.  I can unwind the yarn whenever I need to.  I can check my twist easily.  I could go on and on and on, but I just love that I can fix a mistake pretty easily without much of a mess.
Concentration is key

4: The unique-ness of each and every spindle.
Just take a look at my 2 and you will see what I mean.  Every spindle is unique.  You can get them in so many pretty designs, basic or ornate, heavy or light, different wood types, etc.  I love that I could think I know everything there is to know about spindle spinning and then get a new spindle and have to start over with the learning process.  Some spindles are better for plying, some for singles.  Some take more spinning to get a good twist.  In my case, some are easier to attach pens to the bottom of and still get good yarn.

I love my spindles!

5: They're easy to make if you can't afford a 'good' one.
I learned how to spin on a CD and dowel rod, and spun all of my first yarns on this (and plyed a bit after) before I even caved and purchased a ready made one. I have seen so many people spin with the CD-spindles, or rods and toy wheels.  (ie: CD's, Wheel) , There are so many different home made solutions to the drop spindle that it is truly possible that ANYONE CAN SPIN.

Photo (C) the above CD's link

6:  They have been used for centuries, even before the wheel.
Wait? 6? Yes, I thought of a sixth reason why I love my spindle! The idea that our ancestors were using tools like this since forever (or so it seems) really hits home with thee nostalgia of the whole spinning concept and makes me really appreciate the spindle that much more.

Spindle in the museum at St. Andrews College in Scotland!

On the TdF front, I am only .6 oz away from finishing the fiber. I should get at least .3 done tonight, so it's looking like this yarn will be plyed and completed by the weekend! YAY!

TdF Progress (there's another tube I didn't take a picture of)

So to all my spinning blog friends, what do you think? Spindle or wheel? Why? I'd love to hear your opinions.


  1. Oh but how I love the methodical hum of a wheel and the trance your foot falls into- gently tapping up and down!

    You do make a spindle sound wonderful! Especially the portability factor.

    I do think you'd find that now you can spin on a spindle, wheel spinning will come quite easily to you should you have the chance to try it.

    Great post! I enjoyed reading it very much :)

  2. There's a great book called "Respect the Spindle" that you should read if you haven't already. Lots of history stuff in it.

    I'm intimidated by wheels, they seem like complicated machinery, while the spindle is very approachable.

  3. Another great post! So many good things about spindles. :) I personally find it easier (and, thus, more relaxing) to spin on a wheel, because all my hands need to worry about is drafting the fiber and occasionally changing the flyer hooks. I did learn on a spindle, though, am I'm so grateful that I did because I found the transition from spindle to wheel much easier than I'd anticipated. And my spindles are always there for meditative, mindful spinning. I love them both! :)

  4. Definitely some great reasons for the spindle here! I can definitely say that my life wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't of picked one up!

  5. It makes me think I need to try one!

    1. You really should, they're so fun and relaxing.

  6. Oh how I wish I liked spindle spinning. But your post was pretty enticing, maybe I'll have to pick mine back up.


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