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The Girl Who Loved Fiber Tools (plus making your own drop spindle!)

Apr 3, 2008

The tools of our trade add to the delight of our craft. Spindle or needle, hook or wheel, I love them all. Yes: I am a tool gal. Bring on the pretty orifice hooks, the elegant top-whorls, the superbly balanced knitting needles, the wheel that sings to the eye as well as the heart. I love the fact that these tools, often so lovingly crafted by hand, are then in turn used to work more magic by hand.

I have a tiny spindle painted with tiny sheep roaming in a tiny painted pasture. (I squeal a tiny squeal every time I pick it up.) I have a lovely polymer clay spindle that I bought at the Estes Wool Market two years ago. I have, uh, "several" others. And still I lust after more.

I also hanker after ALL the knitting needles, particularly any that used to be part of a tree. I mean, how many size 2 wood dpns does a girl really need? (Several sets, in different woods and finishes and lengths, apparently.)

Hand spindles in particular fascinate me. They come in all shapes and sizes, are made of everything from clay to wood, and can be as simple as a stick pushed through a bead or as complex as a hand-carved beauty made from an exotic wood. I have to discipline myself not to become a spindle collector. I have been known to go up to a booth at a show just to pick up and admire every single spindle in a vase, and ignore all the rest of the glorious fibers and yarns for sale (forgive me, dear vendors…). When I am wandering through the latest issue of Spin-Off magazine, I make myself look away from those really gorgeously carved drop spindles in the full-color ads, because if I didn’t, then I’d be explaining to the dog why we were a little light on dog chewies this month.

“Walk a-WAY from the spindles,” I chant to myself, and turn the page.

But what if you really want to try spinning, and you do not have a hand spindle? (I’m pale at the very thought of this terrible situation.) Or, what if you wish to be sensible (go over to your yarn stash and ask yourself why you would want to start being sensible now) and not make a purchase of a hand spindle until you know you are going to enjoy spinning?

What if you find out that you hate spinning? (You won’t. You’ll get addicted, just like the rest of us.) What if you’re terrible at it? (Not possible. Five-year-old kids in the Middle Ages could spin, so why shouldn’t you be able to?) What if you can only spin really bad yarn? (What exactly is “really bad yarn”? Bumpy yarn with personality? Don’t some folks package that stuff up and sell it for $25 a skein? You bet they do, and it’s really pretty bumpy yarn.)

I understand that some folks possess much more self-control than I do; these paragons of virtue say it’s good to dip your toes in, just a little, at first anyway. That way, by the time you’ve discovered that you are getting to work a little bit late because you wanted to spin for “just five more minutes,” you’ll have a better idea of which spindle you want (because you’ve been drooling over the ads in Spin-Off), or you’ll have had time to save up for a Lendrum wheel (which is the one I bought a few weeks back—yes, in fact, it is my second wheel, anyone got a problem with that?).

The question then becomes: What can you use to spin on, just to get yourself started, just to give spinning a try?

A spindle made out of a dowel and a CD. Yup. I’m totally serious. Don’t believe me? Here are the instructions on how to make your own CD spindle, plus how to use it to spin real, actual yarn.

Don't get me wrong here: One cannot possibly compare the ease and joy of spinning on a REAL drop-spindle to that of spinning on a CD spindle. Hand-carved spindles are precisely balanced and wrought by experts in their craft; and many are really not all that expensive. However, a CD spindle is actually a pretty good starting place, if a real spindle is not in your budget.

Plus, I added in a free pattern for a lovely, chunky scarf specially designed to be knit out of your very first handspun to the end of the CD Spindle PDF. The lumpier and bumpier your first glorious yarn, the better!

Do you love the tools of our craft almost as much as the craft itself? What are some of your favorite tools? Have you knit something wonderful out of your handspun? Leave a comment, and then go off and knit something. (After all, it’s the weekend, right?)

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's spinning wheel? Beautiful hand-dyed alpaca roving from SakinaNeedles, which I am spinning very fine, about 38 wraps per inch.

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Kilted wrote
on Apr 3, 2011 6:15 PM

Working Link for the Instructions on how to make your own CD Spindle

Jessica@93 wrote
on Aug 8, 2009 6:18 PM

I am fairly new to this spinning world and I am in love. I still haven't been able to  spin but I am going to make a cd spindle really soon and am hoping to find a site of the many where I can find roving or ready to spin I guess wool in order to fulfill this new hobby. It's already a hobby and I haven't done it  I was wondering, I live in Puerto Rico and there are no farms, so does anyone know of a site which is safe and accurate to buy ready to spin roving? If so please let me know.

on Jul 10, 2008 7:10 PM

Pingback from  Must Have More Yarn! » Spinning/Fiber Junkie

BloomKitty wrote
on Apr 25, 2008 6:28 PM
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with a weakness for pretty drop spindles. So, what type of spinning wheel do you have?
janda wrote
on Apr 8, 2008 12:55 PM
as i got ready to comment on this post i realized that i've been spinning for 17 years. there are a few years in there i didn't spin but i'm back now and just as addicted as ever! i knit socks more often than anything else. i love warm feet. right now i'm working on a blanket inspired by "charlie and the chocolate factory" lots of color, garter stitch triangles, and some stripes thrown in for good measure, lol.
JudyE@3 wrote
on Apr 8, 2008 7:05 AM
Will 100% mohair felt?
NancyC@6 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 7:07 PM
I love love love the right knitting needles. For me these days that means ebony or rosewood circulars. My beloved and I bet on the recent NCAA basketball tournaments - the winner to get $75 worth of tools. For him that means Japanese chisels, for me, ebony knitting needles. Sadly, he won. Nancy, Boston.
Aine wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 5:42 PM
I got better at knitting because I had to think up something to *do!* with all those naturally coloured yarns I'd spun while one loom was in pre-pieces and the other one, post! (I procrastinate. This situation hath not changed!)
SaraG@3 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 4:19 PM
My favorite of my favorite spinning and weaving tools are those my Daddy, a woodworker, made for me, from my designs...a loom bench w/heart cutouts, a warping board, lazy kate, multiple spool holder, 2 gorgeous full size niddy noddies, a no. of diz's,a warping paddle, and about a dozen drop spindles made of different weights and woods w/carvings of roses and butterflies on some. He passed away 2 years ago and couldn't make anything for me the last 10 years of his life which saddened him, but he is never ever far from me when I pick up one of his creations to use for my favorite thing, working with fibers and yarns!
bosley384 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 1:57 PM
I confess, I'm addicted to spindles and spinning wheels. You haven't lived until you have spun on a Golding hand spindle. A true work of art and wonderfully balanced. Boys have their toys, but girls have their tools (and materials). Besides, you can't take money with you when you go... so leave behind wonderful tools and a stash of fiber and yarn.
DonnaH@2 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 1:13 PM
When you're trying out your new drop spindle, what do you use to make yarn? And where do you get it?
Anonymous wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 1:08 PM
i am not able to open any of the instruction pages
Anonymous wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 1:08 PM
i am not able to open any of the instruction pages
LaraS wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 12:27 PM
I picked up a copy of Start Spinning this weekend and love it! Ive been spinning for a while, but still found lot's of useful information. It was well layed out with clear instructions and great pictures.
JudyS@4 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 10:00 AM
Any chance the pattern for the Enchanted French Traveling Cap by Nicky Epstein in sold out Fall 2000 Interweave Knit will show for sale on line or better yet free. Judy
ReneeS wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 9:34 AM
Gotta say, don't diss the CD Spindle. If you think about it, what are CDs designed to do? Spin! And they do it really well. I have made a number of these spindles now, and having owned some spindles made by "experts" I really find these to be useful tools. Don't diss the CD spindle!
JoanB@2 wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 9:07 AM
Ok this is all I need is another fiber passion. I had sort of forgotten about spinning. It was in the distant past of my hippie days, and now you have all reminded me of how soothing and satisfying it was. So here I go out to look for a spindle and a copy of Spin-Off. Thanks a lot, guys.
HaddaA wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 8:53 AM
Hey, some kladies have way too many shoes, clothes or bags or all of them. We just have too many knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn, drop spindles, stitch markers. And no we don't have an addiction problem if anyone says something,
JohnN wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 8:27 AM
I signed up for the Knitting Daily email because I had to in order to get your free crochet patterns. I am not a knitter and I currently have no plans to become one. I subscribe to Interweave Crochet. It would be nice if you all had a "Crochet Daily", which would be more appropriate to my interests and needs.

John North
JulieA wrote
on Apr 7, 2008 3:27 AM

I'm Julie from Athens-Greece. Your e-letter is an inspiration and full of interesting information and tips about knitting!!! Unfortunatelly there is nothing similar in Greek ...

I also think that this is my lucky week because I discovered a copy of your spring issue at my newstand - Foreign magazines about knitting are so rare to find here!!

I do not know how to spin - maybe but I am saving all the information for when I will be an old(er) lady :P and have more free time - It must be great to be able to knit something completely unique, starting from the yarn!!!!

God bless you all!!
TamaraM wrote
on Apr 6, 2008 4:04 PM
SANDI!! How could you?? How could you link to such a delightfully written site with such GORGEOUS roving. And I don't spin at this point, and don't have time, and would probably be really bad at it, and...and...argggghhh. There just aren't enough hours in the day..... :-)
BarbaraB@17 wrote
on Apr 6, 2008 3:18 PM
I learned to spin about 15yrs ago from a wonderful teacher she let me spin all kinds of different fibers from her stash and I decided to try spinning fur from my angora bunnies then from my Newfoundland. I wove a small change pouch for my young son from his bunny. He loved it.I haven't spun in a while but after reading everyones comments I can't wait to get back to it! Thanks, Barbie B.
PatM wrote
on Apr 6, 2008 12:22 PM
I had never had the chance to try spinning, until last weekend. I was at a special program where I had the chance to try spinning with a Navaho floor spindle. It is much like the bottom whorl drop spindle, but it is much longer, so you can sit in a chair and roll the spindle against your thigh to spin. I cannot say I really learned to spin last weekend. The class was not that long, but I did get to try it out. I may make a CD version of the Navaho spindle to experiment with some more. It was lots of fun, although spinning my own yarn would cut into knitting time.
pamphish wrote
on Apr 6, 2008 4:46 AM
Wow. You actually went "there". I so want to spin. I have no idea how to do it. I studied art history in college. I should have studied fiber arts!
on Apr 6, 2008 12:06 AM
I agree with Katherine. Can we please get back to knitting now? Don't these posts belong in 'Spin Off Daily'?
JuliaE wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 9:58 PM
Sarah, check out silk, soysilk, corn, milk fibers, cotton, tencel, alpaca...all lovely spinning fibers. You might be able to spin some breeds of wool. A friend who is allergic tucks a bit against her wrist for a few minutes, and if she doesn't react, she knows she's good to go. Sometimes it's the breed, sometimes it's the processing.
I enjoy both knitting and spinning, but if one or the other is not your thing, just indulge your fiber sibs for a few moments. If you are getting "spun up" over these posts, your gauge will tighten up and you'll be frogging before you know it!
CGJ wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 5:24 PM
One comment says: it takes all kind. I do not like to spin, either on the wheel or spindle. I rather be knitting or corchet or even lace with bobbins. I leave the spinning to those of love it.
CarolK wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 2:19 PM
I started spinning about five years ago when our twelve newly acquired sheep were sheared, and I thought, "Now what can I do with all this fiber?" I used a bottom whorl drop spindle first, then eventually purchased a Kromski wheel. For new spinners, I recommend using a drop spindle; it can go with you on trips, you can stand to do it, etc. This past Christmas, I spun, knit and crocheted all four of our grandkids a sweater. Of course, I started in September. It gives me great satisfaction knowing the sweaters came from our sheep. I have sold my yarn on Ebay and Craigslist, but DO have a problem parting with it once it is finished. My daughter and daughter-in-law also love getting the yarn as a gift to make something themselves. I have also carded and spun wool with soft dog fur added for a friend(her dog's fur) and made it into a funky belt...she shows it off to all her friends.
molly z. wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 1:52 PM
Oh, I almost forgot - IT'S A GREAT STRESS RELIEVER! Very zen! molly z.
molly z. wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 1:46 PM
WOW ! ! ! this is really quite a topic - who'd a thought? Seems like quite a lot of passionate fiber-lovers out there willing to share! I wish I could reach thru the screen and share with each of ya'll. If you haven't at least tried spinning, you should at least sit beside one and you will learn SOOOO MUCH about that stuff you are knitting or crocheting or weaving with. And to think that it is an ancient memory, maybe asleep, in all of us. So Wake Up and smell the flowers- spin the fiber. Nearly everything is made of fiber. Learning is it's own reward! okay, enough of the sayings, I'm going to Spinning guild now and then on to the LYS afterward, and will be spinning as I watch (listen to) a movie tonight!.
and YES you do get much better yarn when you spin and it's yarn NOBODY else has.
Keep a good spin going - "Spin a good Yarn" molly z
Ellen M.R wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 1:38 PM
I too have to say...walk away from the spindles! and roving, and yarn, and goes on and on. I have been "collecting" to the point of major excess! Only one spinning wheel so far.
Ellen R.
DiSH wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 12:48 PM
Gee whiz, knitlady54! So what if Sandi wants to share about the way yarn is made? This is her gig, and she can go down any side trail she wants, for as long as she wants. Build yourself a bridge and get over it!
CarolM@3 wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 12:42 PM
to Sarah H, there are many different fibers that you can spin that are dander free. Silk, cotton, soy silk to name a few. All sheep are not created equal. Some sheep have softer, finer wool then others. merino, cormo,ramboullet are all classed as superfine wools. You also should try alpaca or camel, musk ox. These are all very soft and silky.
There are several different types of man-made fibers that you can spin.

About tools, you can never have too many. I am a spinner, weaver, knitter, beader and I have a stash you would not believe. Wool, yarn, beads, 3 looms, 2 spinning wheels, plus all the tools you could possibly want.
Charlene C- you can spin dog hair but some dog hair is very warm so I suggest that you blend it in with wool which will also give is some stretch. If you make a sweater out of the dog hair, the wool will help it keep its shape. I would not use more that 25% dog hair.
Knitlady54 wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 11:16 AM
I thought tat the name of this was Knitting Daily, not Spinning Daily! Enough is enough!
Knitknutkrys wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 11:07 AM
Sandi - could you show us a not tiny picture of the tiny spindle with the tiny sheep in the tiny pasture so we could have a tiny squeal too? I have a tiny love for sheep stuff!
PollyR wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 10:23 AM
It's wonderful timing having the spinning posts right now, as next weekend I'm signed up for a spinning workshop, and thanks to your posts I'm so excited I can hardly wait!
BeverlyP wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 10:22 AM
I believe it's useful to start on a drop spindle, to get the feel of what's happening with the wool and the draw coming from the weight of the whorl. If one uses a spindle that hasn't enough weight and barely keeps turning, it is so easy to become discouraged forever. Get one that seems to turn endlessly with one spin and feel the magical power. Yes, the others are pretty to look at and collect but will they do the job? And choose fleece or roving that won't pull apart too easily. Once on a wheel, you'll be soaring. beverly
BeverlyP wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 10:19 AM
I believe it's useful to start on a drop spindle, to get the feel of what's happening with the wool and the draw coming from the weight of the whorl. If one uses a spindle that hasn't enough weight and barely keeps turning, it is so easy to become discouraged forever. Get one that seems to turn endlessly with one spin and feel the magical power. Yes, the others are pretty to look at and collect but will they do the job? And choose fleece or roving that won't pull apart too easily. Once on a wheel, you'll be soaring.
RobinH@2 wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 10:12 AM
Waht else can you spin besides wool? Oh my goodness, waht not. Although it is a bit easier to learn with wool, because the fibers are not too short and not too long, and the crimp mkes them stick together a little better than some others. But that's not a huge problem. Dog hair definitely - it blooms quite a lot like aongora. If you're allergic to wool, can you handle llama or alpaca? In fact, are you sure it's the wool you're allergic to, or perhaps the dyes or other chemicals used to process some of the commercial yarns? Silk by itself isn't for beginners, but is good to spin when you've had a little practice.

There is also a great variety of vegetable fibers that can be spun, such as flax (linen) or hemp. I haven't seem prepared-to-spin bamboo, soy, or corn fibers, althnough they are all made into yarns.

Don't let a wool allergy stop you from trying spinning!

NancieG wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 9:59 AM
Spinning has been in my DNA for what seems a life time - something I yearned for. It started with 1 spindle because who needs more than than right? Now I am at 50+ and yearning for more beautiful woods and stone beads plus 3 wheels. One can truly NEVER have enough tools. Your article was like looking through my own windows.
on Apr 5, 2008 9:54 AM
What I'd really like to know is if spinning your own wool is a way to get nicer yarns for a cheaper price. I don't mean to add your time to the final cost, because unfortunately I have more time than money, lol!
RuthK wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 8:55 AM
This is my first post so I want to compliment Sandi on her writing style and insight. Only another true addict could write as you do about the feelings for fiber and the techniques that we use for them ... or at least, depending on the time we have to play, justify buying them. My husband and I just entered early retirement and I've finally been able to say "See. I bought all this stuff beforehand so I wouldn't have to spend our limited resources now when I have the time to do my hobbies!"

I love knitting and crocheting and spinning and weaving and embroidery and needlepoint and cross stitch and just touching yarn and looking at my collection of beautiful tools. Some are even crudely, but lovingly made by my best friend (husband). You were so very right when you said that "I love the fact that these tools, often so lovingly crafted by hand, are then in turn used to work more magic by hand."

For the person who was wondering about spinning dog hair... treat it like cotton if you don't want to blend it. Uh, I'd better qualify that. I have spun from the undercoats of my two beloved and very sadly missed black labrador retrievers. (Their's is a pretty, surprisingly light gray.) It's short hair and not too well crimped, but it's worth the trouble. Of course, the new kid on the block - another black lab - probably will either shake or love the finished product to death. He's VERY interested in the smell of the hair, although it's anywhere from 2 to 15 years old.

I have a question that maybe someone can help with. My dogs' undercoat is fairly clean but definitely has dander throughout it. Has anyone else spun lab hair? It has a lot of oils. Has this caused problems?
DianeT@3 wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 8:48 AM
I have been off and on since 1985 and really enjoy it when I have the time. Your latest Knitting Daily posting has prompted me to write in about tools and our love of them. There is just something about collecting "new" tools that is just like new yarn or fiber. It just adds to the pleasure of our craft. Keep up the great work on Knitting Daily. I look forward to your postings.
MargaretR wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 8:21 AM

Yes, you can spin your dog's hair. You can spin any fiber. Some just require more skill. Also, I don't advise wearing a sweater from dog fiber in the rain or you will smell like wet dog. Oh yeah, I'm serious. Think about it, wet wool sweaters have a distinctive smell, don't they? I had a friend, years ago, who spun her chow-chow's fiber. It was beautiful, but...
VioletF wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 8:21 AM
I am very fortunate to be married to a man who is a shameless "gadget hound" when it comes to his hobbies (photography and woodworking) and so understands why I need seven different pairs of 4mm needles--each subtly unique--and why I sometimes just sit and stroke my Lendrum wheel as if it's the cat. These are the tools of our passion, and darn it all, we need 'em! (Which reminds me, I have six different darning eggs too.)
BrittanyN wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 7:30 AM
I love knitting tools and "decor" so much that my husband and I have made a little business out of it combining our skills. He is a potter and started making these beautiful ceramic yarn bowls, spindle bowls and linen bowls to sell on my website. The yarn bowls have slits in them so that they hold your yarn while you are knitting! So far, the bowls have been going over REALLY well so I know I'm not the only one who likes to decorate my house with knitting paraphinanila!
AngelS wrote
on Apr 5, 2008 6:43 AM
Tom and Linda Diak are making beautiful spindles, knitting needles and crochet hooks. The spindles are designed for long spin time to give plenty of time to work with the fiber. Look or ask for Grafton Fiber tools at your local fiber supplier. I am just a pleased owner of a few of their lovely spindles.
Sarah@3 wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 10:58 PM
I'd like to try spinning someday, but I'm allergic to wool. Is there a fiber out there that I (or anyone else with allgeries) could spin?
CarolW wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 10:44 PM
Fortunately, I have a printer w my pc, and my tools include plastic sleeves and binders from office supply stores---and I trim all 4 sides od pages to make it easy to slip in extra charts.
LaurieB@2 wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 10:18 PM
I also love my handmade "flipbooks" for lace and cable patterns--I write out each row on a file card, then punch 2 holes in them and fasten them with O-rings that open and close. I write out all of my even rows as they are actually to be made--so the "wrong" side of a knit stitch is written as a purl, etc. Makes it much easier to knit and chew gum (or talk on the phone, or watch a movie) at the same time.
Laurie Bobskill
West Springfield, MA
LaurieB@2 wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 10:16 PM
Ooh, I LOVE my grooved wooden cable needles from Patternworks (currently $10.99 for a set of 3 different sizes, and I've never seen them anywhere else). They are so much easier to use than the metal U-shaped cable needles. Although I nearly always use the "left-hand pinch" method to cable without a cable needle, these are great for holding 5 or more stitches (my manual dexterity ends abruptly at 4).

Laurie Bobskill
West Springfield, MA
LynnW wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 9:31 PM
I have a question about Boteh scarf. any chance it will be a on line pattern?
thanks for considering it.
Carol Soaper wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:58 PM
I am thoroughly enjoying your spinning commentary! I got into spinning "through the back door". I was a long time crocheter of cotton lace (25 years), but put it away when my three sons came along. Almost ten years later, I picked it up again, and shortly thereafter, the deal of a lifetime on a friend's loom came along. I bought it and taught myself to weave. Working with wool weft hooked me on fibers and I taught myself to knit. Ahh, delightful! Then I explored making my own yarn, on a wheel, then a drop spindle, and I'm totally in love. Four years later, I knew that spinning was in my spirit and I blessed a friend with the loom. I identified with you difficulties with trying a spindle first -- I found that I could spin on the wheel much easier. Then I went back and tried the spindle again. It was soooo much better. Thanks for your honesty about learning to spin. Carol Soaper
KarinP wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:52 PM
I leaned spinning about 30 years ago, and a couple of years ago I ran into people of a local knitting guild, who told me about a local spinning guild. So after my wheel had retired for some 10ish years I am back to it, and I am also teaching our 3rd graders to process a fleece from the beginning to wonderful dyed "novelty yarn". The only thing they don't get to do is to sheer the sheep. They can only watch that part.
WandaJ wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:45 PM
LOL I have the best of both worlds - my husband totally supports fiber addiction by making fine wood tools for fiber artists. :-)
I was determined not to learn how to spin. ha. Ed was asked to make Turkish spindles and the rest is history. Totally hooked within moments, especially when I realized I could spin silk.
Wanda Jenkins
JanetB wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:39 PM
I've been knitting for 45 years(I can't believe that myself!) but knitting handspun yarn is light-years nicer than millspun. There's a liveliness to the yarn that is palpable. I raise Gulf Coast Native Sheep and cashgora goats and blend the fibers. Love the yarn and love my Rose wheel. Haven't mastered the spindle but am determined to do so. JanetB
LauraC@4 wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:27 PM
I got hooked on an Ashford Traveller, then learned how to spindle spin, and I still find myself buying more spindles...but my absolute favorite tool is my Pegasus wheel, made for me by Bill Wyatt. This wheels rocks, and makes gorgeous yarn. And I make gorgeous sweaters out of the gorgeous yarn!
MjM wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:18 PM
I do love knitting tools- I have more needles that any one person can use(I even have some made out of bone) and yet will buy more when I find them at goodwill. My sister just sent me a swift that I can't wait to use. I have been considering learning to spin. In fact I already have access to wool from my dog who is a NAID (Indian used to spin their fur). So maybe I will be buying a spindle too
MjM wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:18 PM
I do love knitting tools- I have more needles that any one person can use(I even have some made out of bone) and yet will buy more when I find them at goodwill. My sister just sent me a swift that I can't wait to use. I have been considering learning to spin. In fact I already have access to wool from my dog who is a NAID (Indian used to spin their fur). So maybe I will be buying a spindle too
molly z. wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 8:14 PM
Ahhhhhh... spindles. I learned to spin on a 30 yr old Louet 3 1/2 yrs ago and later decided to master that #$%^&* spindle thing. I worked step by step with the "Spin it!" book, starting with rolling between hand and leg to hooked stick and beyond. I attended SOAR at the end of my first yr of spinning and bought 'a few' lovely spindles have had very good luck with purchases online and have been teaching the Hand Spindle class at my LYS (Fiber Factory) for almost 3 yrs. The class is 3 hrs and I've never had a student fail to 'get it', some may not love it but it takes all kinds. I just love all the fiber tools and am trying to decide which will be my 4th wheel. Too many choices and not enuf room!
p.s.-Robin try a top whorl (almost any beginner will do), about 1.25 ounces. Good Spinning!
ElizabethY wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:57 PM
Right now I'm knitting a bulky sweater for my son's fiance. The fleece was from Kid Hollow Farm...a mixture of wool and kid angora. It's a dream to spin and knit!
RobinP wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:47 PM
OK, sold. But ... what kind of spindle to buy? I always get stuck on top, bottom, weight, etc. Any recommendations?
RobinP wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:46 PM
OK, sold. But ... what kind of spindle to buy? I always get stuck on top, bottom, weight, etc. Any recommendations?
RobinP wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:46 PM
OK, sold. But ... what kind of spindle to buy? I always get stuck on top, bottom, weight, etc. Any recommendations?
RobinP wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:46 PM
OK, sold. But ... what kind of spindle to buy? I always get stuck on top, bottom, weight, etc. Any recommendations?
DawnJ wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:43 PM
I haven't learned to spin, yet, next on list of things to do, but I do have a spindle. I absolutely love any tool that has to do with knitting and crocheting, I have many wood and bone crochet hooks, knitting needles, and almost every other tool tool that goes with the craft. The more exotic the better. I also have my own flock of stuffed sheep! (working on alpacas)
Thank you so much for today's post. I made my husband and kids read it so they know it's not just me that loves having all these beautiful tools to go with all the beautiful yarns!
Victoria S wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:29 PM
Way, way back in the day (I won't say how long ago), I directed a summer day camp for Parks and Rec and one of the activities the kids loved was when someone from the local spinners' guild came and showed them how to spin using drop spindles made from a dowel and half a potato. Obviously the spindles didn't have much shelf life, but they worked pretty well, perhaps because of the added weight.
Loribird wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:22 PM
Ok, I have to ask (cause I need another drop spindle like a hole in my head...): is that a real rose or is it the coolest drop spindle ever, and if it IS where did you get it??!!?
JenniferH wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:20 PM
OOOH, spindles! Beautiful spindles. From lollipops to Golding Rings, they are scrumptious! I even commissioned a buffalo spindle for my hubby! Then, bought him buff fiber...
He's since informed me he really really likes weaving better, but that is sure to change. Tools, beautiful tools!
JoanneB wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 7:03 PM
Recently our Guild tried spindle spinning and my husband made several spindles from dowels and CDs. They worked really well! It was fun!
Joanne B.
KatherineC wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 6:48 PM
OK - three posts is enough now can we go back to knitting in the Knitting Daily?
bjbs wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 6:44 PM
A couple decades ago I learned to spin, vegetable dye, and then weave. I would use commercial yarn for warp and use my handspun for weft of garments I wove and also for wall hangings. I too love tools, needles, all of it. You're making me really nostalgic for the good old days when I had 2 spinning wheels and 3 looms!
BetsyN wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 6:35 PM
Yeah, and now that you spin you have a yarn stash and a serious fiber stash for your spinning addiction... it takes up more space, but it's oh, so cozy! Cormo anyone?

You can blend the dog hair with wool. The possibilities are endless. Betsy in NY
CharleneC@2 wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 6:25 PM
I know nothing about spinning, yarn, etc. But I love my dog so much that I have always wanted to make yarn out the hair he has shed. Is that possible??
Kris wrote
on Apr 4, 2008 6:19 PM
My first spindle was a spool of thread with a pencil stuck in it. A bent pin was stuck in the eraser and I sat on the top of my bunk bed and hung it down from there as I attempted my first yarn.