This unique spindle is cute and the workmanship that went into making it is clear
Weight: 42 g / 1 1/2 oz
Length: 12" Shaft 3" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: Purpleheart, maple, hickory
Upon closer inspection, you can see that Thomas Forrester really enjoys his work. He pays close attention to detail (he even included lips on the sheep) and the carved lines are smooth and even. He creates neat shaping in both the crown ontop of the spindle and the whorl shapes. This spindle is very smooth with no rough edges.
Handspun on the Needles
I have a list of goals this year:
1) knit a sweater for myself
2) crochet a sweater for myself
3) learn to sew
4) make a few projects that have been in my queue for a long time like Wurm, Hitchhiker and Sheep Heid, Morning Surf Scarf with handspun
5) challenge myself each month on something crafty
6) spin 4 oz on a supported spindle
7) Finish as many WIP’s as I can
8) Wear more of my hand knits on a regular basis
I've started working on a few items and cast on for the Hitchhiker shawl this past week. I am using a Merino/Tencel blend which is the Jan 2014 club shipment from Spunky Eclectic. I spun the fibre straight from the braid without splitting it up. I wanted to have longer colour runs which of course "make" this shawl. The other nice thing about this pattern is you knit until your run out of yarn so I can use up every last inch of my precious handspun.
I'm really liking the gradation of colours, looks like a sunset to me. It also makes for great work knitting.
Weekly Spindle Review ~ Mjolinor
This giant is what Jeremy refers to as "surprisingly photogenic" (hows that for a reason to buy)
Weight: 64 g / 2 1/4 oz
Length: 12" Shaft 4" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
This spindle was on my "need" list for several years after seeing this on Marihana's stash page. My friend Susan noticed one for destash on Ravelry and I instantly jumped on it.
It is a very large spindle and quite heavy compared to my others. I have mostly been happy with Greensleeves spindles and this one seems... different. Not that its not pretty, its ok to be somewhat plain but the shaft on it seems to be.. ugly to say the least. Not that this plays a huge role but it just looks like a dowel to me. A lot of time and love was spent on the whorl though, its beautiful warm woods are a nice, dark, rich colour. The underbelly has been turned nicely (different from other Mjolinors I've seen online) and its got a nice shallow umbrella shape. There is only a single notch at the back of the hook, but it doesn't seem to be very big/deep to hold the yarns I would use for this type of spindle. And I should also mention that the main reason I wanted this spindle was for plying. I wanted a large spindle that could hold a full skein of yarn so I didn't have to make a couple smaller skeins.
The fibre pictured is my Nov 2013 club shipment from North Bound Knitting. Cheviot wool in the colourway "The Talented Mr. Ripley"
This spindle would be much more suited to spinning long wools where you want less twist in your yarns. One plus for this spindle is the spin time is very long. You won't have to worry about it changing direction on you. This particular spindle has a bit of a wobble.
Length of spin: 46.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: VERY good
Overall Rating (as a plying spindle): 7/10
Don't ask me how to pronounce Mjolinor, it is one of Greensleeves Scandinavian style spindles and its design is based off a spindle found in Northern Europe in an archaeological dig. I will give this spindle another try later on when I have some larger skeins to ply. There is a lot of potential in this gentle giant.
**Warning, this post will keep you up!
I have been yearning for a project that has no deadline. Something where I can pick up a spindle, create any yarn and knit a project that I can wear whenever and wherever. One of my goals this year is to actually get around to knitting a few projects this year that have been in my Ravelry queue for a few years. Specifically the ones "made" for handspun. Like the Morning Surf Scarf, Hitchhiker, Wurm, Simple Yet Effective Shawl, and all the amazing handspun fingerless mitt patterns out there (not to mention the million shawl patterns in my queue) Right now the one I'm thinking about is the Helix Scarf by Stephanie Gaustad. My friend Deb knit one of these a few years ago with her handspun. It's simple, beautiful, and just what I'm looking for. I was looking at the projects on Ravelry and this one really caught my eye.
If you are looking for spinning with shawls in mind, just join this group! Looking for crocheting handspun? Here you go :)
And if that's not enough... look at the projects/stash of Marihana
Now you can see what I'm talking about! Add a few projects to your queue now? YEAH! Now you can understand how I feel haha. Which projects are you thinking of starting this weekend?
Setting the Twist Tutorial
After you finish spinning a skein of yarn, it's important to set the twist. This helps the energy in your yarn relax and it also helps the yarn bloom which shows you how a finished object made with your yarn will behave after it is washed. You don't want any surprises to show up.
I started out with these 3 skeins. As you can see they still full of twist energy. I always overply my yarns and this is the result I end up with. (My very first skein of handspun yarn which I spindle spun and plied on a wheel was very "balanced looking" when I was finished, but when I went to knit with it, it was very underplyed = lesson learned).
My samples are: Humbug Finnish, Merino/Silk and Finn wool.
**Its very important to tie your skeins in at least 3 places. This prevents tangles and tears
Fill your basin/sink with warm water and a bit of Soak wash. Place your skeins in the water and gently submerge them to release any air bubbles. Make sure the skeins are completely wet. Let the water & wool wash flow through your fibres for at least 15 - 20 minutes.
Now for the fun part - thwacking! I find this really helps my skeins relax and it releases a ton of built up energy. Take the damp skein out of the salad spinner and hold it with your arms outstretched. Bring your hands close together and then very quickly open your arms wide and your skein will make a slapping sound. I have demonstrated this step in this quick video:
You can also hit your skein along the side of your tub or another hard surface.
Hang your skeins in a warm place to dry. *This step goes really fast if its nice and hot and you can hang these outside. You can see how much they have relaxed compared to the first photo.
Now after all of this, I should also say, that your don't HAVE to do this. There are no spinning police. If you don't want to set the twist, that's fine, just keep in mind that your yarn will behave differently when working with it. If you want an energized yarn then perfect :)
Let me know if you have any questions and happy spinning!
This is a wonderful spindle that won't give up!
Weight: 16 g / 5/8 oz
Length: 8 1/4"
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: English Bog Oak/Elm & an Ash Shaft
I fell in love with IST spindles a few years ago when I tried one out in my LYS. With just one flick these spindles will make it seem like your fibre is spinning on its own. They are nice and light and spin forever. I spun this textured batt sample on it and got about 14 yards. (I should also mention that each of the samples I spin for these reviews will be available for purchase in my Mini Skein section in the shop.)
I really prefer rim weighted spindles because they have a much longer spin time and you don't have to worry about your spindle changing directions on you. Many IST spindles (like this one) have a brass/epoxy resin band around the whorl to give them some weight. It not only a beautiful feature but also a benefit in my opinion.
Length of spin: 23.3 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
I have many IST's in my collection and I haven't had any issues with any of them. If you are looking for a quality top whorl spindle ... look no further.
Sturdy and hardworking are great words to describe this week's spindle
Maker: Miss Lucy
Weight: 37 g / 1 1/4 oz
Length: 9 3/4"
Woods: Zapote & Cherry
I bought this beauty in a destash on Ravelry and was first drawn to it because of its design and gorgeous woods. I really appreciate when a spindle maker adds their special touch and the detailing on the shaft is stunning. Once I started spinning with it I couldn't stop, it has such a long spin because of its shaping (it's rim weighted) and its perfectly balanced. The length also made it very comfortable to use.
Length of spin: 29.1 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Overall Rating: 9/10
When you look at the spin time with this spindle compared to the Russian style spindle last week (29.1 seconds compared to 9.6 seconds), you can see how the extra weight and the shape of the base really makes a difference.
If you get your hands on a Miss Lucy spindle, you won't regret it