A Master Spinner and guild member was teaching at a local yarn store. I signed up, hoping she’d help make a spinner where my disastrous attempts at self-study had failed. She had us begin our spinning adventures on little toy wheel spindles. I was both excited and nervous, fearing my clumsy fingers might never get the hang of drafting fibre.
A year on from those first tremulous drops and spins, I am an avid spinner with a special affinity for spindles and their process. Spindles have a magic hold over some spinners. In fact, there are some who never work on a wheel, by choice.
As far as I can tell, every spinner who enjoys spindling seems to have more than one spindle. In fact, some spinners I know have more than 30 or 40. Why so many? Well, each spindle maker has their own criteria for making spindles and spindles have their own personality. Yes, really. Like a mechanic with wrenches, what a spinner wants to work on will dictate which spindle she/he will pick up; the right tool for the right job.
It also helps that spindles are beautiful little things that look lovely stored in a vase or jug.
I recently had the opportunity to add a few spindles to my collection and became passionate about learning what’s available in the market these days. I’ve been gleaning information from spinning friends, books, websites, sellers and other spindle enthusiasts, looking for just the right spindle to add next. (One of my friends recently got to speak to a spindle maker in person so I’m hoping to pick her brain very soon!)
Because I love to talk about spindles, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on and experiences with some of the little beauties I currently own, in case you were looking to expand your spindle knowledge, too.
Let’s start here.
This spindle is one of the first spindles I ever became aware of, even before I learned to spin. My Irish roots are probably showing, but I loved this one from the moment I set eyes on it, with all that pretty knot work.
It’s a Golding Celtic Ring spindle. It is the heaviest spindle in my collection at 55 grams (1.95oz) and I use it for plying, but also for spinning some of the art batts I use in my art yarn creations. It has a long, smooth spin, thanks to the brass ring around the outside, and the motif makes it a joy to watch it spinning.
My friend described it as the luxury car of spindles. I agree. Golding spindles are created in a wide variety of weights and decorative design features to suit many, many spinners. If you get a chance to try one, I’m pretty sure you’ll buy one, but you might have to budget for it.
You can find them out at www.goldingfibertools.com
Now let’s check out the other end of my spindle spectrum with the Trindle.
This is a very different design than any other of my spindles and I enjoy spinning with it immensely. Looking like a chemistry class molecule, it’s my lightest spindle at 14 grams (0.5oz). The design is endowed with a fast spin that puts a lot of twist into the fibre and gives me a lace weight yarn with more ease than I ever thought my oversized hands could manage.
These spindles are also available in much lighter weights in the Micro Trindle and also in heavier models. The three beads can be changed out depending on what you want for weight or design, allowing for personalizing to a degree not readily available in most spindles.
You can find them at http://www.etsy.com/shop/trindleman
Finally, I’d like to share another new addition to my spindle vase, one that surprised me.
Why surprised? I had never heard of this make of spindle before and I am now convinced the spindle maker made it just for me. It’s a Kundert Carved Whorl spindle of 29 grams (1.05oz). It has a large whorl of light weight wood that lets it spin for ages. It fits my hand like it was custom made and works with my default spindling yarn like it can read my mind.
I know not everyone will respond to spindles in the same way but a great feature of the Kundert spindles is that they are very affordable, making it possible to try them out without breaking the bank. This is always a good selling point for spinners trying to decide where
best to spend their budgets.
You can find Kundert spindles at www.kundertspindles.com
I really could go on about spindles for more than anybody has time for in one blog post. I promise I wouldn’t tire of it either. In fact, I’m certain it would only inspire me to go out and acquire more. Instead, I’ll try to get another post done another time, just in case you want to peek at my spindle vase again.
In the meantime, feel free to share the fibre art you’re passionate about. Who knows who might be inspired!