I tried to to a lot of spinning for the Tour this year. While I didn't really have a strict goal I had fun. I spun 5 bobbins that still need to be plied and 5 skeins. I was also working on my 2 support spindles which are handmade by local makers. I will focus more on those as soon as I finish my fibre with them.
I also received my NEW wheel!!!! This one replaces the wheel that was stolen in my car earlier this year. I wanted to keep with the same wheel as I loved it and I still have parts for it. This time though I got the walnut stain <3!! I bought it from Jo's Yarn Garden in Stony Plain, Alberta. Joanne was such a pleasure to deal with!! I am smitten with my new Kromski Sonata.
I miss my old spinning wheel bag which was made by Blue Mountain Handcrafts... but when I laid eyes on this Tom Bihn Quarter Packing Cube, I knew it would make the perfect replacement. I will devote a blog post soon to this bag. It really is perfect.
I feel so good to be able to finally replace some of the items lost in Feb. I have been so grateful for friends and my fibre community for lending and supplying me with all the tools I have needed to keep going.
But...... wait there's more!
Look. At. What. I. Won!! This beauty is my newest treasure handmade by an amazing woman named Jenny Noland. She is an AMAZING fibre worker in our community, a friend and a whiz at everything she does. Jenny is truly a Master Crafter, from spinning, knitting, weaving, lampwork, wood turning and more. I am so lucky to know such a talented woman. So, Jenny has been working with her lathe and making spindles. You should check her instagram feed to see all she creates. I was the luckiest of all to win one of her new spindles!! I was looking for a beautiful fibre to start spinning and found some baby camel in my stash. More to come on this!
If you are going to Winnipeg this fall to attend the Manitoba Fibre Festival then you are in for a great lineup of workshops! I will be teaching two classes, one on each day. You can see the schedule and list of workshops here, but don't wait too long as they are filling up fast! The festival runs from Friday September 30 (5-9) and Sat October 1 (10-4). I will be judging fleeces and helping with the wool show and auction as well as selling my handspun and other items in the vendor market. I hope to see you there!
FLEECE TO FINISH
In this class you will learn how to choose a fleece with an end project in mind. We will go over the judging card to see what the judge is looking for in a fleece and what the different wool classes entail. Methods of storing and washing will be discussed as well as different ways to process fleeces. This is a hands on class and will involve a few example fleeces to gain greater insight. Bring a fleece if you have questions! Please bring an apron to protect your clothes.
Friday September 30 2:00 – 4:30 pm 2 1/2 hours
Registration fee: $25
No materials fee
HANDSPINNING WITH A DROP SPINDLE
Ever wanted to learn how to make yarn by hand? In this class you will learn the time honoured tradition of spindling. We will be using a top whorl spindle to learn how to create your own leader, manage twist, understand the drafting zone and draft continuously, build a cop and prepare your spun singles for plying. We will also discuss spindle types, fibre preparations, and finishing techniques. Perfect for beginners.
Saturday October 1 9:00am – 12:00 noon 3 hours
Registration fee: $30
Material Cost: $20 (payable to instructor) includes drop spindle and 4 oz of fibre
Every year at the time of the Tour de France, spinners around the world spin their wheels and spindles in a challenge to accomplish a goal or goals. If you like there are teams you can join to help support you along your way and often there are prizes to go along with it. This years' tour began on July 2 and runs until July 24th. My goal this year is to spin 4 oz on some support spindles as I have really enjoyed the slow process of support spindle spinning in the last year or so.
The fibre I chose is Corriedale, dyed by Amy of Spunky Eclectic. It was the club fibre for Sept 2016. The spindles I chose for this project were merely on the fact they haven't been used too much and deserve more love. From left to right you have; Antique hybrid, Gripping Yarns Thorn, Bristlecone Glindle, and an antique Russian. I am spinning with my guild in Team RWSG.
I have also been spinning for another great shop which I will post about soon. At the end of the first week I had 5 bobbins spun. Plying will come next so I can free up some room for more spinning. Are you spinning in the Tour this year?
I have been practicing more using my turkish spindles - mainly my tiny Capar spindle and have really been enjoying it. It is quite soothing to slow down after a busy day and watch how the colour changes in the fibre work their way through when building up the cop. I've learned now how to wind the spun yarn properly on the arms to make my centre pull ball. I spun a bunch of this blue while in the Regina Weavers & Spinners Guild booth at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival last month (you can see more about our fall sale in the flyer!)
I created an Instagram challenge with Etsy SK and one day we were to post a video of our process and decided to do this quick video showing the steps involved with spinning on a turkish spindle. I normally spin for a longer period of time but wanted to show it all in a short period of time.
Wayne Capar of Natural Knot Wood was at the Blue Hills Fibre Festival this past weekend and I was looking at his spindles some more. I also have one of his large sized turkish spindles that I am spinning on as well.
I read on Ravelry today that Tom Forrester and his wife were killed in a car accident a couple weeks ago. Such sad news :( Another fine craftsman gone too soon. I will be spinning on my favourite Forrester sheep spindle tonight.
I also own one other Forrester which is the Orchard version. I coveted this spindle for quite some time until one came up in a destash. I feel very lucky to own a couple of Tom's fine spindles.
I've been working through my spin kit from Spin Off and wanted to share how I wind my spun yarn from the spindle. I learned about this trick in one of my classes I took with Deb. I think Susan also had a hand in this ingenious trick. This is my set up in my studio with my ball winder to one side.
So, all you need is a clamp and a couple fishing swivels. The clamp was purchased from Peavy Mart or Canadian Tire - any hardware store really (or even the dollar store) and the swivels are super cheap and can be found anywhere. I just attached a couple end to end and attached on end to the clamp. It's as simple as just clamping your rig to something and hanging the hook of your spindle into the free swivel.
I hold onto the shaft of the spindle so it has a bit of tension and wind off the yarn on my ball winder - or niddy noddy after plying. Simple yet effective. Here is a quick video of it in action.
If you are interested in how I wind yarn off of my support spindles, I do something similar which you can read about in this previous blog post. How do you wind off your yarn?
I have been really inspired by all the people spinning on their turkish spindles in the past little while. I bought a large Capar spindle at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this past fall and have been wanting to get spinning on it. I have four 1 oz bumps of fibre that I am planning to spin separately and combine into a project (likely a shawl). I really need to work on my winding but these people have given me a push. Starting at top left: Phyberphreak's TDF 2014 project, Allison (ASJKnits) (Bottom) Julie (aelllis) and Joanne Seiff. Seasoned turkish spindle users - please let me know how you got so good with your winding.
Weight: 21 g & 16 g / 3/4 oz
Length: 8.25" Shaft
Since the past couple of years I have been on a MAJOR support spindle kick and I really want to try all the spindle makers out there. Ghstworks designs have caught my eye on some of the spindle threads so I perused their shop and found this little number. My sample is Romney and I spun and plyed it to keep its awesome colour runs. It came to 11 yards in the end.
My very favourite aspect of this spindle is it's size. I LOVE it! Its labeled as a travel spindle and that's exactly what I plan to do with it. Perfect for throwing in your bag and taking it everywhere you go. Its stocky, well built and made to last. It also feels nice in the hand. My hands are kinda... what's the word... pudgy (ha) so this spindle feels not too big, not too small but just right. If you have larger hands, this travel spindle may not be right for you.
To spin a larger amount of fibre with this spindle you would have to make a couple cops to do so as the shaft doesn't have the length for a few oz (but it's the travel size) . I have a bit of fibre chosen to make a bigger skein with this spindle to test out how much fibre I can pack on before it becomes cumbersome. (I will update this post when I do that)
The shaft isn't overly decorated but there are 3 small rings near the tip which add a nice bit of detail (see last picture). Rings like this always remind me of my Tabachek spindles :)
There is some hand yarn management ridges near the bulb. I really appreciate these because they really help a lot when it comes to getting your spinning started. They are carved very neatly and even. The shaft has been smoothed but not a whole lot. I prefer that because if the spindle shaft is too slippery, your yarn will just keep sliding around as you are spinning. It needs some hold, but not enough to snag your fibre.
Length of spin: 9.4 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Fair
Overall Rating: 8.75/10
This spindle maker has taken time and care into making his spindles work very well. They don't need a mix of woods or fancy tips or unique shaping. They are very nice Russian spindles and I would like to have more from Ghstworks.
Weight: 11 g & 16 g / 3/8 and 1/2 oz
Length: 10.5" Shaft, 2.5" Arms
Material: Shaft: Redheart Arms: Malachite & Tigers Eye beads
I have a very special review for you today, very unique, very innovative and very customize-able spindles. My samples are both merino and I spun 15 yards and 51 yards in the 2 skeins.
Trindles are made using a shaft, a neoprene hub and perimeter weighted arms. The materials that go into making these spindles are vast. The beads alone can be comprised or glass, metal, woods, semi precious stones and even ivory just to name a few. If you are looking for a spindle you can really personalize, these are them.
My arms are beads made from Malachite and Tigers Eye. I have always had a love for rocks and quite like these ones. You can change the weight of your spindle, simply by changing up your arms. The weights of these are as follows - Malachite (4 g) and Tigers Eye (9 g). There are several arm sets you can choose from and if you have a special set of beads he can even make a custom set of arms for you! Now how COOL is that?
The arms stay in place really well yet they are easy to remove and switch around if you need to.
The neoprene hub is really quite ingenious. There are 6 holes in these spindles so I could even add 2 sets of arms for extra weight if I needed. The material is virtually indestructible and nice and lightweight. It is snug on the shaft and there is no movement at all. Both of mine are an inch down from the hook. Even the placement of this hub could be customized to make mid-whorl spindles and support spindles - which he also does (!)
I would also be careful in packing these babies for travel as they feel a bit dainty. With that said, this spindle maker is so unbelievably awesome to offer a lifetime guarantee on Trindles. If yours breaks or fails in anyway, he will repair or replace it, no questions asked. That alone is reason enough to want to support this maker!
The hooks are simple but not a detail overlooked. The end of the hook has been tapered so it doesn't have a blunt, ugly edge that may snag your spun yarn. They have a nice wide curve that lines your yarn up perfectly with the shaft.
And after all that, lets talk about how they spin shall we? Like a dream. I was slightly worried that the arms would come flying out mid spin but that hasn't happened. I was also a bit concerned that given the weights and the design of the arms that the spin time would be short and it wasn't bad at all. BECAUSE of the design, and the weight distribution on the outer tips of the yarn, these spindles are amazing spinners! They dance in the air, almost weightless and barely look like they are moving, kinda like a hummingbird.
Winding on was a bit of a challenge at first though. I had to slow down a bit and make sure I was building my cop under the arms and not in and around them. Although, it would be worth a try if you needed to pack on more yarn to see if that helped with yarn storage if you kept it balanced and under control.
When you buy these spindles you have to buy a shaft and arms separate. This let's you choose your shaft preference and you can create your own spindle set. I like how you can collect different arms and switch them out as you like. You kinda get a modular spindle and you can change things up as you spin even.
Length of spin: 14.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: If you are spinning very fine lace weight yarns, you will be able to pack a lot of yarn on these, and can change weights as you need to.
Looks: Very unique, and an ingenious design
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Here is where I tell you a secret, I traded for these spindles. A woman on Rav was looking for a Glindle (as is everyone) and she was offering these spindles as well as a Gripping Yarn french spindle in return. I REALLY wanted the GY spindle and thought about this trade for over a week. I even consulted my local fibre community on their opinions of Trindles as I had never tried them and wondered if they would be a fair trade with the spindle package being offered. I decided to go for it and I am actually pretty happy I did. I really love these spindles and they spun so effortlessly and were so nice and light that they are a joy to spin with. I was quite impressed with the spindle maker as I mentioned above with his guarentee. He also responded to peoples' comments on his Ravelry group with genuine care and even a bit of humour. I respect that. If you have ever been curious about these spindles, give one a try, or better yet, check out the Trindle Etsy shop and pick out a nice set of arms and a shaft and take the plunge, there is a reason they are popular!
Maker: Wayne Capar of Natural Knot Wood Designs
Weight: 12 g / .42 oz
Length: 3.5" Shaft, 3" Arms
Style: Turkish Spindle
Material: Shaft: Walnut Arms: Olivewood
I am back, and trying to dive right into my spindle reviews once again. I have lots of skeins spun and lots of spindles in line so let's get started.
My sample is grey Merino from Inglenook Fibers in the Rose Window colourway. I got 12 yards navajo plyed.
I have said it before and I will say it again, the teeny tiny turkish spindles have always left me raising one eyebrow and giving the half-assed response of "oh that's cute....". They have never interested me in the least. That is until I saw this little beauty at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last year. Even in my mind I was saying "but Susie these things are ridiculous, you don't even like turkish spindles and really how much yarn could you fit on one of those spindles?" Luckily I ignored my inner voice and gave these a try.
As mentioned above, this spindle is quite small and I can fit it inside a little Tetley tea tin and put the lid on. Because of it's size, I was able to spin in the car during red lights on my way home from work yesterday without any difficulty. Not that I do that often, but I would not be able to sit in the car and spin with many of my other suspended spindles.
The wood pretty much sold me on getting this particular one. It glows! I also appreciated that Wayne talked to me about the wood when I was buying it, it showed his enthusiasm for his work. They come in their own padded box with all the details on weight/materials etc and this shows how he takes pride in his spindles. The arms have a nice curve to them, not chunky and not dainty. You can feel they have a nice weight distribution and with the shaft wedged in place there isn't a lot of movement. The pieces fit perfectly together, like a puzzle, but not too tight.
The shaft is simple but well thought out. It feels strong and isn't too pointy. The butt end is rounded and bulbous and the tip is tapered with a nice little groove in it to hold your half hitch in place. I had big issues with half hitch's when I first started out with spindles several years ago. This spindle takes the frustration out of the whole ordeal of your yarn slipping off. If you wanted, you could definitely use this spindle supported with a shallow bowl. I may try that next.
I am still quite slow using turkish spindles and I had to look up how to wrap the spun singles around the arms to create a centre pull ball. (I did over 2, under 1, which I beleive is the most common method). To be honest, it was kind of refreshing to slow down a bit, think about what I was doing and enjoy the process. I was able to go faster after the first little while and even plied the yarn on this spindle with no troubles. There are a lot of different winding techniques to try and get as much yarn on a turkish spindle as you can. I would like to try a few more out to see which method I prefer. If you have any tips for me, let me know in the comments :)
This spindle didn't spin as long as I was hoping but because of its weight - or lack thereof it made sense. Once I put more spun yarn on it, that helped.
The underside of the spindle has the spindle makers name (written in sharpie - a pet peeve) but it is done fairly neatly and doesn't take away from the spindle's beauty.
You can also see in this picture what the underside of the cop looks like using the over 2 under 1 wrapping technique.
My finished yarn came out to be more of a sport weight but you could produce some very fine yarns with this spindle, and I believe that you could get some decent yardage on this tiny turkish. You can spin the spindle by grasping the butt end of the shaft or spinning the tip in your fingers, which I found easier to get better momentum.
I had posted about these little spindles on my Facebook page as a Daily Inspiration the other day. While looking through others' pictures of their Turkish's, I saw a little triangle bag that someone had used to house their spindle and a bit of fibre for travel. This is on my to do list. These make great travel spindles and are very compact if you take them apart and they will only take up about 1.5" of space.
Length of spin: 19.8 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: TBD but better then you might think
Looks: You can't help but giggle at them but the grain in the arms is to die for
Overall Rating: 9.0/10
I'll admit they are still kind of ridiculous but I'm enthralled by this one. I plan on buying a medium sized Capar spindle this year at the Manitoba Fibre Festival and think this maker has changed my view of turkish spindles. They aren't sluggish and awkward. A huge bonus is having a centre pull ball at the end all ready for plying. I'm going to take this spindle, and spin some more yarn on it and practice my winding techniques. I hope that if you haven't tried one of the few tiny Turkish spindles on the market yet, that you give them some consideration and you too might surprise yourself.
I have been working on spindling the kit I got from Spin Off Magazine. The project I have in mind is the FFSSA Sheep and Spindle Fair Isle Hat by Theresa Gygi I've finished with the Falkland on my Bosworth spindle and for the first time was successful with Andean plying. Yes, my middle finger turned purple but i was proud of myself for winding all the yarn off and into a bracelet with no tangles or any issues at all. After plying I got 129 yards of fingering weight yarn. Onto the Yak which I am going to use my Malcolm FIelding Dervish for. More pics to come!
I enjoyed this slow process. It was very gratifying when I finished spinning and was able to start plying. To make my plying ball I wound the yarn from each spindle into my ball winder. I used my spindle bowl and help my spindles carefully to get all the spun singles off.
I plied this skein on my brand new I Love Spindlez spindle that my friend Kat's husband made.
I've already been thinking about my next spindle project. I'm leaning towards a gradient :D
I am working on a new spindle challenge for myself. I have these wonderful rolags I got from Natually Knitty on Etsy and I am spinning one a night. As I mentioned on Facebook, I am using this time to unwind and relax after a long day of work. I have 5.5 oz of fibre and it will take me about a month to complete spinning all the rolags. The fibre content is Shetland, Merino, Falkland and Polwarth - what a great blend!
I started out using one of my Glindles which I reviewed in this post, and I have 9 rolags spun on this spindle so far. 22 more to go.
I have been taking pictures every night and posting my progress on my Facebook page. Its hard sometimes because night pictures are never that great, so I thought I would post an weekly update on my blog here.
At the end of spinning, I will 2 ply the singles and I'm not sure what I will do with the yarn ~ project wise. Probably a shawl :P I have been inspired by a couple people and their spinning to shawl projects.
Rolags are great to spin with, they are easy to transport and spin on the go as you can throw a couple in your spindle bag - no need to bring them all. They are easy to spin from and will create a nice woolen yarn.
I found this spindle bag at the Fibre & Finery sale I participated in last November. It was made by Kathy Woodcock, who is well know in the city here for her unique hand stamped bags with flowers from her garden. She is a fellow guild member and an amazing weaver. Her bag fits my spindle and rolags perfectly.
So far I am quite enjoying the process which is different for me as I am usually a product spinner. It feels nice to take it slow.
What spindling projects are you working on?
Weight: 31 g / 1 oz
Length: 7" Shaft, 5" Arms
Style: Turkish Spindle
Material: PLA Filament (thermoplastic)
Probably one of the COOLEST spindles I own.
First of all, 3D printing boggles my mind. The idea of it is pretty darn cool and the second I saw this spindle online it was mine.
For others who wonder how the heck 3D printers work I found this video to be particularly helpful
My sample is Merino/Alpaca/Seacell in the colourway "Silver Linings" by Kinfolk Yarn and Fibre.
About 5 minutes after my purchase, I received notification that it had shipped, which impressed me right off the bat. I was really eager to get this spindle and check it out and see what something "printed" in 3D looked like, how did it feel? I was totally giddy for this one.
You are able to pick which colours you would like for the shaft and arms. I chose orange arms and a purple shaft for contrast. The arms to me look like a reflector and I think it is really neat how you can see all the layers it took to make the spindle take its shape. If you have trouble deciding on colour, she also sells shafts separately so you can mix and match. The plastic is hard and rigid, a very solid spindle yet very lightweight. There is an O-ring in the middle of the smaller arm so there is a no slippage when the shaft is set in place. This is the standard size of TurtleMade's spindles, she also sells a mini size as well. I found this particular size perfect. It's not gigantic and not so small that you will have to spin a million tiny balls to get a decent sized skein. I bet you could easily fit a few ounces (if not more) on this one.
I should also state clearly that I am not a Turkish spindle user. I only have 2 Turkish spindles and I acquired both this year. I find them slow, frustrating and awkward. With that being said, perhaps it is just jealously rearing its ugly head because a couple of my friends; Sara and Lindsay, are excellent Turkish spindle spinners and their skills are both amazing and inspirational. My Turkish spindle skills are l.a.c.k.i.n.g. Big time. I threw all my judgments away the instant I saw this spindle online, and it was only $15!!!
The shaft fits perfectly in the cross-section of the arms without budging. Because of the nature of 3D printing, the shaft is not smooth, but that makes it perfect for holding a half hitch. There is a nice taper near the tip for holding your yarn in place as well. This detail helps me get over the awkwardness of my yarn slipping off the shaft when I give the spindle a good flick. This Turkish now takes 3rd place for longest spin time.
This spindle has the makers name on the underside of the larger arm - stamped into the spindle itself - how the heck did she do that?
Now onto the spinning. An absolute joy. I was amazed how it danced and spun in thin air with no effort. It's arms whirled around without shaking, no slowing down, and my mind in disbelief at its speed. The spindle was on the ground with a hearty length of yarn spun before I felt the need to look down to see if it needed a boost. Light also reflects off its surface and it shimmers as you spin. Pretty impressive.
I will definitely be packing this spindle with me wherever I go. I have zero fear of it breaking, (and if it does, I can replace the shaft for $5). It is a super cool conversation piece and a tool that you can hand off for someone else to try and you will be able to see them smile at it's awseome-ness. You're looking pretty cool now aren't you?
Winding on has also been a bit of an issue for me. I started by trying to make it look all fancy but threw that by the wayside when it was slowing me down. It's not important for a sample size and it made no difference when it came to plying from the centre pull ball the spindle had created. The technique I used was "over two, under one" and since I was able to grip the shaft easily, this made for winding the spun yarn on much easier.
Length of spin: 35.4 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Excellent
Looks: By far the coolest spindle I own
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
This spindle has shattered my previous opinions about Turkish styles. It was not awkward to spin, it was not slow and its size was easy to handle.
I also like the fact that with this spindle you are combining a primitive tool with an advanced scientific technology to make an object that is highly functional, swanky looking and well made. Pick one up - you know you want to ;)
Weight: 24 g / 3/4 oz
Length: 10 1/2" Shaft
Style: Support Spindle
Wood: Unknown - looks like Cherry
The Bristlecone spindles are hard to obtain - although at the moment in the Spindle Candy group they seem to be popping up.
My sample is spun with a Merino/ Bamboo/Firestar batt from Luthvarian Fiber Arts in the colourway "Danae". I LOVED this batt and I have already favourited this shop on etsy. Since this is a Sherlock spindle, I needed to find a "manly" fibre to spin. I thought this colourway was perfect and It seemed the spindle agreed. I often hear that fibre spun on a support spindle referred to as the "spindles' dress". Well this my friends, is Sherlock's suit.
Phang spindles are a type of support spindle, with no whorl, often a bulge in the middle or two points and a low centre of gravity. The Bristlecone versions have a Goddess shape - thus the name. The grain of the wood, really accentuates the curves of the Goddess and create a very well balanced spindle. I used the "waist" to wrap my spun singles around.
I found this spindle to be a very good spinner. Without fibre on it, it spun smoothly in my hand and pretty much stood straight up. The wood is nice and smooth, lightweight yet dense. I was able to spin lace weight yarn no problem.
I am happy with the wood burnt detail of the characteristic Sherlock pose on the base of the phang. The colour reminds me exactly of what I have in my mind of the wood used in Sherlock's pipe. A nice rich, purple-y brown, tobacco stained colour. The carving is a nice depth and size and is in proportion to the rest of the spindle.
Now, there is one detail that was overlooked - and this may just be me being anal BUT the tip at the top of the spindle is off centre. I know, I know but it bugs me like crazy!! When I hold the spindle with Sherlock centred, the seam of the bead used as the spinning point is staring right at me. Was this attached before adding the Sherlock picture or was this just a simple oversight?
Length of spin: 4.2 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Looks: A very handsome looking spindle
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
The fibre/spindle combination was a win/win. I enjoyed spinning on this Goddess. This is my first phang and I have to say I was quite impressed. I have lusted over some of the other Bristlecone Goddesses but I am head over heels in love with this one. Much like all of the work done by Bristlecone, you can be sure you are getting a quality tool with stunning detail and thought put into it. Add one to your Christmas wish list and keep your fingers crossed :)
Maker:The Clay Sheep
Weight: 43 g / 1.56 oz
Length: 2 1/2" Whorl, 10 1/2" Shaft
Style: Top Whorl
Wood: Polymer Clay Whorl set atop a Red Oak Base and Shaft
Anita from The Clay Sheep has been well known for her amazing polymer clay stitch markers, diz's and orifice hooks. She puts wonderful detail into each item she makes. A few months ago I saw on her Facebook page that she had made a couple spindle prototypes and knew that once they became available I had to give them a try. My spun skein is a rolag from Naturally Knitty.
Currently, these spindles come in 3 sizes; small, medium and large (1 oz, 1.5 oz, 2 oz). I decided on the medium spindle, mostly because its the middle ground and I tend to gravitate towards sport - worsted weight yarns. I also instantly fell in love with the design of the whorl - who wouldn't? The detail is evident right down to the little feet and the curls in the sheep's wool. I also like that because each of these polymer clay whorls are handmade they are also truly one of a kind. If you look at the other spindles with this design, no two are a like. There are different flower colours and different sheep combinations. I also quite like the sky and the colours she used are so vibrant.
The frame around the picture is sterling silver filled wire, and this distributes the weight to the outer rim of the spindle. She has added 2 notches; at 12:00 and 6:00 and they are of a decent depth. The hook is made of Argentium Silver hard tempered wire and it suits the personality of the spindle very well. Its not too thick, or too thin and it lined up my spun yarn exactly in-line with the shaft. The neck is long enough that I can wrap some of the singles around the hook without anything getting in the way. I also found that it is closed enough that when things got a little out of control (on my part not paying attention to the fact that my arms aren't long enough when the spindle reaches the floor) the hook held the yarn securely as I fumbled to grab the flying spindle. This also goes to show the spin time. I am able to spin quite a length of yarn before the spin even slows down. (This is the 3rd place for the longest spinning spindle I have reviewed so far) All in all, with the combination of all the thought and detail that went into the top portion of this spindle, it is VERY well balanced. While spinning, it danced smoothly and effortlessly.
And that's just the top side of the whorl! Underneath, she has engraved the spindle's weight and its number. Mine is already #30. She has also etched her initials. Yet, more detail she hasn't overlooked. I think it's really cool to have numbered spindles, they are works of art. I'm also glad she burnt this information into the wood and didn't use a sharpie.
If you are looking for a really unique, really well handcrafted spindle, then check out what Anita from The Clay Sheep has to offer. Fully functional works of art, and not a single detail overlooked. I can see this spindle becoming one of my favourite, go-to spindles. I am searching through my stash to start a new spinning project on it ASAP. I am SO happy that this spindle is in my collection, I think I may need the other 2 sizes as well :)
Maker: 3G Woodworks
Weight: 49 g / 1.72 oz
Length: 9 1/4" Shaft
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: Amboyna Burl Whorl, Walnut Shaft
I will admit this spindle was an impulse buy. The burl wood caught my eye and I HAD to have it, without knowing anything about them.
My sample is BFL/Silk (75/25) in the colourway "Renaissance Fair" from Littlest Lamb Boutique. The skein is 20 yards of n-plyed yarn.
Let's get right down to the obvious - the whorl is absolutely stunning. Chaos and little storms are spinning within this wood and you can't help but become mesmerized.
There is a nice deep notched at the 9:00 position and its wonderful because it holds your fibre, no matter what thickness you are spinning.
The underbelly of the whorl has been carved out to push the weight to the outside without taking much of the guts out. As you check out the spin time below, this spindle has the longest spin time so far of any spindle reviewed this year. Even longer than the Golding!! That alone may be a major reason for you to look towards these spindles for your next purchase. The weight of the spindle has been engraved into the underside of the whorl, it has been done neatly and the writing isn't too large.
One downside of the whorl is its thickness at 1/2". The wood used is very lightweight so that's not a huge deal breaker for this particular spindle but another, more dense wood might change this from a 1.72 oz spindle to a boat anchor.
The hook is very dainty and quite nice. No cup hooks here. It is well centered, balanced and glued in tightly. If you happen to drop this spindle and bend the hook, it would be a breeze to re-align. The depth of the hook is also just right, not too shallow and not too long.
I bought this spindle 4 years ago and it was under $30 including shipping. When I think of 3G Woodworks, their use of interesting woods comes to mind. They use really cool combinations and rare woods that are hard to find. These spindles may surprise you. They are on the heavier side but would make wonderful plying spindles and the slower spin makes spinning longwools that don't need a lot of twist much easier. This is also a great travel spindle because you can throw it in your bag or basket and know that it can hold its own. It's hefty but also a hardworker.
Length of spin: 38.3 seconds!!! (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Very, very good
Overall Rating: 8.0/10
3G Woodworks aren't as well known as many other spindle makers but don't let that deter you. You may surprise yourself with these spinners. I've kept it in my collection and not only because of its beautiful whorl but it is a great spindle for beginners, its dependable and I can spin thicker yarns on it and maximize yardage at the same time.
I am spinning for Ed Tabachek on one of his wonderful Tibetans. He was a superb person and I am very happy to have met him and his wife. I'm very proud to have all of his spindle types in my collection. They are prized and extremely well made. He was a true craftsman and a very friendly, easy going man. In his honor I am spinning "Golden Treasure" and thinking about the hardwork and dedication that went into his work and life surrounding fibre arts.
Maker: Ed Tabachek
Weight: 37 g / 1 1/4 oz
Length: 11" Shaft
The sample I spun was comprised of Merino, mill ends and angelina from CrochetbyKa in the colourway "Snow Day".
I purchased this spindle at the Manitoba Fibre Festival last year and I was very happy to see Tabachek spindles for sale once again. Despite my iffy feelings on Russian spindle, this one really called to me. As you can see the wood is really quite eye catching and I thought it was really unique, not to mention I didn't have a Tabachek Russian in my collection and I HAD to have one.
These concentric circles are a signature of Tabachek spindles.
Ed usually uses very unique woods in his spindles. Whether you love natural grained woods or colourful combinations you can find both with Tabackek. He is very good at choosing combos that work well together.
The length is just perfect, it's comfortable to spin while sitting. You can pack on quite a bit of fibre without feeling like you have too much to handle. The shaft doesn't feel like it is so thin it will snap on you but I would be careful when traveling with it or throwing it in your bag without a hard case around it.
The tip has been tapered enough to make spinning off its point pretty easy. It's not so sharp that bits of the tip will break off and you don't risk stabbing yourself. Again, I would still be careful when packing it, and make sure you have protective tubing around the tip - but mostly that is just a good habit to get into with any spindle.
The wood has quite a beautiful shine to it and when tilted in the correct lighting you can really see it. It's a nice contrast against the dark grain. There are also very tiny holes in the wood that make it look like a walnut shell. I like that.
I found there is a bit of a wobble on it when it is bare but once I had some fibre on it the wobble disappeared. The shape of the bulb at the base of the spindle seems to be the right size for the length of the shaft. The tip spins smoothly on both wooden and pottery bowls.
This spindle is lightweight, but still feels dense enough so you don't have to worry about it going flying from your lap when you give it a good spin. Depending on your fibre preparation, you could definitely spin a very fine yarn on this spindle.
Length of spin: 7.8 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Quite good
Looks: Very stunning
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
If you love to knit lace shawls and you love to spin your own yarn then consider a Tabachek Russian. You would be able to pack on a decent amount of yardage without feeling overloaded. I can guarantee that you will have people walking by asking to see both your work and the beauty of the spindle. Another reason I bought this spindle is because I walked by a woman spinning on hers and I stopped to ask her what her opinion was on his Russian style spindles. She said she loved them and then looked at me matter-of-factly and said "they're the best".
When my friend Susie asked me to do a review of Turkish spindles, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about because there are so many good things about them. We narrowed it down to pros and cons, and why I chose the ones I did, so here we go.
I have to say that out of all my drop spindles I tend to reach for my Turkish spindles first.
Pro: The reason being is their portability when traveling in and around the city, I can easily stash one in my purse, or in my knitting bag to spin with when I get the chance.
Con: My other spindles get left at home and ignored.
I have traveled with my spindles as well, further then the city limits of course, in the car, and by plane, and my Turkish spindles were what I took with me.
Pro: When they do not have a cop on them, they come apart easily for storage in a small space.
Con: those little pieces, when the spindle is taken apart can be misplaced or lost in transit
Pro: Because of the half hitch you use to hold your yarn you have just spun to the spindle, there is less of a chance of your spindle dropping and rolling under your seat.
Con: some people find it hard to produce a half hitch.
Pro: they are their own fiber storage tool
Con: occasionally, depend on the fiber, it does get caught if you wrap it to tight.
Before I get into which spindles I have, I will say that I am not affiliated with either of the companies that I chose to by my spindles from. I am just a happy customer.
I have 3 different sizes of Turkish spindles, tiny, small and medium, as compared to other spindles not only in the market but also in the vendors I chose to purchase from. My Tiny Turkish is from Jenkins; it’s called a Kuchulu. I picked it up second hand from one of my friends who had bought it and decided it was too small for her. The reason I picked it was because of its size, and because it was cute, it is easy to spin lace or cobweb yarn with this size, and I can fit quite a lot on it when it’s wrapped properly. My other Jenkins Turkish is called a Delight, and it is 3rd in their scale of smallest to largest. I picked this size because any larger, and my hands would get fatigued easier, and I wanted to be able to spin for longer periods of time. Jenkins spindles come in 7 different sizes/weights, all of which have a name for their size.
My other 2 Turkish spindles are from Threads Thru Time. They have beautiful color combos for their spindles, and their spindles come in small, medium and large. I chose a small, and a medium, for weight and portability.
I probably use my Medium TTT Turkish the most, as it fits about 2oz of fiber on it when its spun and wrapped nicely, which is great for spinning a larger amount of fiber because you have fewer cops to deal with at the end if your going to ply them This one travels with me to my husband’s soccer games.
Overall the spindles that I have chosen make me happy. I can spin on them all, they are easy to use, and when it comes time to ply, you have wonderful center-pulled balls/cops ready for you to ply from!
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Behold the Twisty Stick
Maker: Cats Paw Fibres
Weight: 0 g / 1/8 oz
Length: 9" Shaft
Woods: Ancient Kelethin Wood
Hey! Keep reading, you may surprise yourself with this one...
Not only is this a wonderful way to teach a new spinner the concept of spinning but you can practice both drafting and twisting without worrying about:
- Dropping your spindle
- Adding too much twist too quickly
- Letting your twist enter your fibre supply
and really just getting to see the processes involved with making yarn.
First grab a bit of fibre and hook your twisty stick onto it. Start turning the stick in your hands which will in turn add twist to your fibre. Pull your hands apart slowly and draft out a small amount while still turning your twisty sick in your other hand. As you watch, you can see the twist entering your fibre supply and your yarn getting stronger. The more twist you add the stronger your yarn (but don't add too much)
The wood on the shaft of this spindle is a little rough but that is perfect for this particular tool because you want the wood to have some grip when you are turning it in your hands. If the wood was too smooth, your yarn will slide around (to start) and you may not get as many rotations in as a less smooth shaft would provide.
My favourite of this spindle is the bottom of the shaft. It is a beautiful shade of royal blue. It was obviously put there by the detailed hand of a painter. I believe it is an oil paint made with Lazurite used during the Renaissance. Ok, maybe not.
This is a very light spindle, so I can spin very fine yarns with it. If I wanted to make thicker yarns, no problem, I just don't draft as much. If your arm gets tired, you can switch to rolling the spindle on your leg. These is evidence of these types of spindles used in Scandinavia and in "The Big Book of Handspinning" by Alden Amos, he gives instructions on how to make a couple different versions of the Twisty Stick. These are great tools which can be made very inexpensively and you might even find a twisty stick in your neighborhood.
Length of spin: Indeterminate
Fibre storage ability: Unbelievably good!
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
This would make a very nice gift to anyone who wants to learn how to spin or those who like to sit down while spinning. I am very proud to have this wonderful tool in my collection.
Maker: Phil Powell
Weight: 17 g / 5/8 oz
Length: 9 7/8" Shaft
Style: Russian Support Spindle
Woods: Asian Tiger Stripe Satin Wood
Interesting looking spindle, with quirky personality.
For this week's review, I used a small batt sample of BFL, Punta Silk, Firestar and mohair from Sheepy Kitty. I spun this yarn straight from the batt outside in the wind so it is full of air and truly woolen. I used this sample as my kick off to TdF. I also used my stAR pottery lap bowl (which I absolutely love!)
The first thing that you might notice about this spindle is its weird shape. It is definitely unique and reminds me of an insect leg; which may be the reason why I haven't warmed up to it all that much. To be honest, this is the first time I have spun on this spindle. I acquired it through a destash and added it to my collection.
The wood used is a huge bonus though. I'm usually a fan of darker woods but this one glows. You can see its beauty shining like gold in the sunlight. I've never heard of Asian Tiger Satin wood but it sure looks as nice as it sounds.
The lower portion of the shaft has very unique shaping, I haven't seen other russians quite like this. I would have expected that there would be more weight distributed but this spindle is so light, I didn't seem to get that feeling. I found this spindle slow going until I had a bit more weight packed on it.
The craftsmanship is visable in this spindle, and you can see that there was great care put into polishing the wood and making sure it was balanced.
I was able to spin a lace weight 2 ply yarn which is the category of yarns that russian spindles are best known for.
The tip in which you spin off is very delicate on this spindle. It is so pointy it has chipped off a bit and just like a knitting needle that has split, there seems to be no way to help this but to sand it down a bit. Now I know this spindle was well taken care of before I owned it. It has a piece of rubber tubing to protect the end when not in use, but this tip damage has occurred as a result of spinning and with a little TLC, it could be good as new again. It looks not bad in this picture but upon closer inspection, it looks like a teensy tiny bit has broken off.
I also find it nice when the spindle maker signs his spindles and this one isn't too bad. "Powell 2013". At least it's not written with a sharpie marker but unfortunately I don't think this signature will last as long as one that has been engraved in the wood.
Length of spin: 5.72 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: quite good
Looks: If you can get over the insect leg part and look at the beautiful wood it's gorgeous
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
If you are looking to try out a russian spindle that is a little slow to start, but has a unique profile then you might look towards this type. I see these for sale sometimes in the Spindle Candy group on Ravelry and some people love them while others aren't as enamored but I think they are worth a try!
Maker: Made in India
Weight: 20 g / 1/4 oz
Length: 7" Shaft 1" Whorl
Style: Tahkli Support Spindle
Brass Whorl, Metal Shaft
These spindles are made for spinning short stapled fibres like cotton much easier. Alden Amos says that until recently, they were almost always used exclusively for cotton. Especially in India from the 10th century on.
My sample isn't quite finished yet. I am spinning using punis, which are made from hand carded cotton and rolled into a tight rolag. I find they make cotton spinning easier because they are the perfect size and all you need to do is simply hold the puni in your fibre hand and let the spindle do all the work. I am spinning 10 punis at a time to make my skeins. I just LOVE cotton spinning, and at first I had a real hard time "getting it". After practicing on my charkha and my bead spindle it just clicked one day. I also gained a lot of inspiration from my friend Deb, who has done wonderful things with cotton and written about them in Spin-Off magazine and other publications (and she let me use her Bosworth charkha <3!) I have had this spindle for a long time and this is the first time I have actually used it.
Because the shaft is so skinny, you can fit more yarn on these than you may think. I have about 6 punis on this spindle currently and have lots more room. 10 punis is about 13g (3/8 oz) of fibre in this case.
This spindle holds its spin for a very long time and I find I'm the one stopping the tahkli and not the other way around. On any flat surface this spindle will go and go and with little effort.
It's quite comfortable in my hand and you really don't need to worry about breaking it too easily. There is more a chance of you stabbing your hand or leg (be prepared for that). This isn't the prettiest spindle either, but it doesn't need to be. It does its job and it does it very well. One thing I am not very happy about is that after spinning for a while, my hand smells like metal and sometimes feels sticky.
**Whenever you go to thrift shops, it's important to keep an eye out for "spindle cases" and "spindle bowls". You would be surprised to hear some people use them for candles, tea bags or food. How silly of them!
Length of spin: 23.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Not to shabby
Looks: Better than bad
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
If you are interested in giving cotton a try, pick one of these up. You can find them all over the place and they usually range from $13 - $20 or you can get them in many learn to spin cotton kits OR you can make one yourself. If you look in The Big Book of Handspinning by Alden Amos, he gives instructions for making one from a coin and a dirt bike spoke. Kinda cool.
Maker: Texas Jeans
Weight: 24 g / 3/4 oz
Length: 10" Shaft 1 7/8" Whorl
Style: Tibetan Support Spindle
Woods: Osage Orange with Maple Shaft
My sample this week is an Alpaca blend by Spotted Circus.
I first learned about these spindles when I went out for coffee with friends. Deb had one in her bag and I spun it in my hand just to get a feel for it and I was absolutely amazed because it was the smoothest spinning supported spindle I had tried. I asked who the spindle maker was and she told me Texas Jeans. I hadn't heard of them and I wasn't really schooled in supported spindles because at the time I only had one. Even now, after acquiring a lot more supported spindles and trying many out the Texas Jeans spindles are still the smoothest spinning.
The whorl is rim weighted which ensures a long spin time coupled with the small whorl size which adds spin speed makes these spindles wonderful to use. Since the weight is so light, this spindle seems to be running on batteries. After my initial spin tests I had another spin that continued well after 40 seconds (without fibre).
The golden whorl shimmers as it spins and the top has a nice smooth point on it which limits friction and this spindle works well with either wood or glass/pottery bowls.
The detailing on the base of the shaft right near the whorl draws the eye to the heart of the spindle. Attaching the start of your fibre is easy because of this, whether you tie on your fibre or leader or push your spun fibre down the shaft.
Once dressed with yarn, you don't lose this detailing because it is also continued onto the tip under the whorl.
This spindle is perfectly balanced and you barely see it moving aside from the depths in the grain. You could just spin these spindles between your fingers without using fibre and still have fun, they twirl so nicely.
Attention to detail and care went into making this spindle. No part of it looks like it was rushed and each piece sits flush with no signs of glue or anything like that. These spindles have very nice curves.
I received this spindle from my friend Michele. She had told me that she had a beautiful tibetan spindle to offer that she loved but the length wasn't quite as long as she preferred. She told me she had a hard time making the decision to destash but knew it would get more love if she passed it on. When I found out the spindle she was talking about was a Texas Jeans I couldn't resist. It spun as smooth as Deb's spindle that I had tried earlier and after looking at the Spindle Candy group on Ravelry and his Etsy shop I could see that these spindles were popular and wanted to own one myself.
If you are looking to try supported spindling and you want a quality, affordable tibetan then I highly recommend Texas Jeans spindles. He also makes Russian style spindles as well as lap bowls and top whorls. He also uses contrasting woods/colours in his work and they are just wonderful spindles to have in your collection.
Length of spin: 29.9 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Good
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
So much to love with these spindles
Maker: Ed Tabachek
Weight: 50 g / 1 7/8 oz
Length: 10" Shaft 3" Whorl
Style: Top Whorl
Woods: Kingwood with Maple Shaft
My sample this week is Falkland wool from Tale and Tendril in the colourway Madonna & Child.
This spindle holds a special place in my heart because it was my very first spindle. I first heard about Tabachek spindles from my spinning teacher Deb, she told me they were the best and luckily they were available in my LYS. Since I was just learning to spin, I was looking for a spindle that I could use as a beginner but I still wanted it to look really nice. I was happy that this spindle was lightweight and that, as my spinning evolved I could still use it to spin a variety of yarn weights. The size was also big enough that I could pack a substantial amount of yarn on it. It still hasn't let me down.
The hook is strong and much nicer than your average cup hook and there is nice detailing at the top of the shaft. Each of his spindle models are similar but the woods he uses set them apart. I love how he uses contrasting woods/colours and the grain in this particular spindle is really pretty.
He bowls out the underside of the whorl which makes these spindles rim weighted. Upon closer inspection, the carving is flawless. The top of the whorl has concentric circles and even the side of the whorl is shaped with carvings as well.
There are 3 notches in his spindles; at 2:00, 6:00 and 11:00 which is different from the regular placings. I like these better. The notches are also neatly made, and look like they are integrated into the whorl as opposed to an afterthought.
Look at that grain!
I made this spindle bag out of my first handspun yarn. I wheel spun two bobbins and plyed them together. The yarn was so underplyed I re-plyed it on this spindle. It important to save your first handspun and a spindle bag is a great item to make.
I was lucky enough to have Ed Tabachek in my Spindle class I took at Olds last year. He is a very humble man and very friendly. His wife Jo-Anne is also a recent graduate of the Master Spinners Program and for her thesis she used Tabachek spindles exclusively.
Length of spin: 24.4 seconds (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Excellent
Overall Rating: 10/10
Ed has been going through some health issues and his spindles have become difficult to obtain. I have seen some for sale on the Spindle Candy group and people are asking a lot more than they bought the spindles for. I am very lucky to have at least one of each of his spindles (The Deluxe is the largest). He also makes Russians and Tibetan support spindles as well as spindle bowls and nostepinne's.
I'm very glad to have Tabachek's in my collection and if you come across one you will love them too.