Weight: 53 g / 1.86 oz
Length: 10.5" Shaft, 2.5" Whorl
Style: Tibetan Spindle
Woods: Bird's Eye Maple, Hard Maple (shaft)
I have been eyeing up these spindles on Ravelry in various Support Spindle groups and they are quite stunning to look at. My sample was fibre that came with the spindle from Wild Hair Studio in the colourway "Gandalf the Grey" which is a blend of natural coloured wool and pygora fibre from thier farm with luxury add-ins.
I don't know why the Pippin style called to me out of all the beautiful styles Mirkwood has available. I even looked on Ravelry before purchasing this one to see how the spindle looked both bare and with fibre on it. There is quite a variation with the styles, shaft length, woods used, weight and price. I decided to go with Pippin. Bird's Eye maple is cool looking and this spindle was one of the lower priced options.
You can choose between a pointed tip - which is what I am used to seeing/using or you can opt for the "crowned" tip. I of course chose this alternative. This means I also had a choice from about 30 crystals that would be placed in the tip of the shaft. I love this kind of thing because you can add a more personal touch to your spindle by choosing a birthstone or a coordinating stone based on wood or just picking your favourite colour. I liked the peridot stone, I thought the colour was nice and thought it would look good shimmering on top of the spindle as I spun. This crown didn't make it any more difficult to spin from the tip.
The stone is placed within the shaft very neatly. It is not sticking up and it doesn't have glue squishing out around it. Tibor has grooved down into the shaft to place the crystal in just the right spot, so you don't have to worry about your yarn snagging on it and losing it. This is the only spindle maker that I have seen do this. It's a nice touch.
The other originality of these spindles is at the opposite tip ~ the ball bearing point. This gives the tiniest point of contact between the spindle and your spinning surface, which is to make sure there is less friction and more ease of movement. I like this idea, but I don't think it is "better" than other styles of tips. Spinning on a non-wooden spinning surface was definitely smoother. The ball bearing is also carefully placed into the whorl without any mess.
You can see here that my Bird Eyes in this maple are almost non-existent :( Kinda dissapointed with that.
When I purchased this spindle I know I chose the "Made to Order" spindle and knew as a result that I may be waiting a bit longer than those who bought the "Ready to Ship" spindles but I couldn't find anywhere how long the wait might be. It wasn't in the listing and there is nothing written in the shop policies etc. After waiting a couple weeks, I headed over to the Mirkwood Spindle group on Ravelry and asked how long do these usually take. The response was 6 - 8 weeks (!!!) I messaged the seller on Etsy and was told my spindle would ship within the next week or so. From the day I ordered my spindle until the day I received it was 10 weeks. I was not very happy about that and I'm not sure it was worth that amount of wait. Especially since other spindles were being listed in the Etsy shop and I had already paid for my spindle.
Once it arrived, I was happy to see that it was packed carefully and the included fibre is always a bonus. The craftsmanship that goes into the Mirkwood spindles is apparent but when I pulled this spindle from its box, it felt a little clunky. The whorl is a solid block of wood with not much detail - this isn't a bad thing. It is one of my heavier supported spindles and as a result it is a slow spinner. Once I had some spun fibre on the shaft, it did make the spinning process much easier and I am very happy with the yarn I spun using it.
The spin time - OMG this spindle spins and spin, and spins! This now holds the record for longest spin time for any support spindle I have reviewed so far. Even longer than many drop spindles. This is mostly because of the ball bearing but also because of its weight. Keep in mind that the spin tests for the support spindles are done with no fibre on the spindle.
Length of spin: 37.6 (average of three tests)
Fibre storage ability: Quite Good
Looks: Kinda plain but the crown adds beauty
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
Mirkwood has some very beautiful spindles. They have done a great job of providing a unique niche of spindles that centralize around the Hobbit & Lord of the Rings. I don't think I would want to wait another 10 weeks for one but I wouldn't hesitate about giving another one a try. They are a bit different to get used to but they would make good travel spindles and they are very well made. When looking at the different styles, I would pay close attention to shaft length and whorl shape so that you know your spindle will cover your needs/wants and work the way you are expecting. It is fun to choose a crystal for the crown and Tibor does come out with some very fancy designs. Keep your eyes on Mirkwoods, there is a spindle style for everyone.