I often get asked “If you have spinning wheels and love to make yarn why on earth would you spin on a spindle it’s so much slower?”
So let me answer in one word – Because!
So why after having several spinning wheels in my house would I want to spin on a spindle? Because! I know I have a wheel that is designed to fold and placed in a bag and take anywhere to spin whenever I want to, but let’s face it a spindle can fit in my purse and I can take it anywhere. So there is one reason for the spindle. But if I am honest that’s not why I use spindles.
Some spinners start on a spindle and like to visit that first love once and awhile. Yea that’s not me either. I was spinning on a wheel for 3 or 4 years before I really embraced the spindle.
So why the heck did I start spinning on the spindle? Because the first spindle in my collection stopped me at a fiber fair and told me it needed to come home with me. So of course I bought it. I took it home and there is sat for a year, collecting dust while it waited for me to get to it. It was the next year that I was attending the same fiber fair that I decided to take a class on who to use it. And at that point I fell in love with spindles. So like any other good collector of fiber tools my collection of spindles has grown. I believe I have over 20 at this point with at least one more on the way.
For the most part I use top whorl spindles because that is what I first learned on and for quite awhile that was the only style that I was able to find at fairs and in stores. However for the past couple of years I have seen more and more Russian spindles and bottom whorls showing up for sale. As a rule I prefer to purchase my spindles in person, that way I can allow the woods or artistic style to speak to me. Sometimes I will order one online but it’s usually from a maker I already have purchased from in the past and I know they will be usable.
As a rule I like dark and interesting woods so I usually lean towards those. So far I have been unable to find a spindle that I think would be just lovely, an ebony shaft and a purple heart whorl. I have been told that those two woods are on the heavy side so it wouldn’t work, but I bet there is a spindle maker out there that could make it work. So if you are looking for a tester of my idea I am willing to do a bit of quality control for you just let me know.
My favorite spindle maker is Tom Forrester. Sadly because of illness he is no longer making spindles so I prize that two that I have. I also love Elizabeth Dailey of Greensleeves spindles and have quite a few of hers. As a matter of fact one of hers was my first.
There are a few spindle makers that I have been wanted to get, however I have not been able to purchase in person thus why I don’t have any Bosworth or Golding’s. Some day.
As I start off my year of the spindle I chose to use one of my Forrester spindles. I have so far spun a little less than an ounce of a wool and silk blend from my stash. I am thinking it’s from Ashland bay but I’m not 100% sure as it’s been in my stash for awhile. I have a total of 2 ounces and it’s spinning up very fine so that I am thinking it will be for a shawl or at least a lace scarf.