And the last little piggy went to market: how to buy a drop spindle

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Well folks.  Today is Thursday at SOAR (not sure what it is in the rest of the world…) which means two things: Market Day and ‘day of rest’. And rest I did.  I also went to the market with the intention to buy no fiber, 1 spindle for spinning lace weight yarn and 1 bottle of oil for my spinning wheel (who knew spinning wheels need oil?)  This is what I found: some schacht oil with the long nose (this is the best, by the way, Beverly!):

Schacht Oil

and (Forrester Drop-Spindle – 19.3 grams FROM CANADA!)

Forrester Drop Spindle

hexagon whorl forrester drop spindle

and oops….

Wolf Creek Wools

some Wolf Creek Wools – Brick Colonial Multi Colourway but one-is-a-gift-I-swear-it.  The thing is, I really don’t need fiber, and I already bought these,

SOAR fiber from Ashland Bay

the SOAR fiber: Ashland Bay 75% BBFL and 25% Tussah Silk, which means that I have a crap load of spinning to tempt me away from my super hero christmas list… Well, two out of three isn’t bad, now is it?

My spindle shopping experience was pretty special for two reasons. One, I was not a spindle advocat before.  I was perhaps a bit of a spindle mocker.  Then I realized that mocking spindles would be like mocking sock knitting, because both are accomplished in the same way: a row here, a row there or a twist here, a spin there.  Anyway, I converted quickly after I saw what beautiful fine yarn was possible with such a simple tool (was there ever any doubt?  Spindle denial.)

Two, I have never, ever used a spindle in my life, until today.  Today, while trying spindles out, I just copied the folks shopping beside me.  I even dropped one on the table, so I didn’t feel too bad (till I dropped one on the floor).  It’s okay to drop them short distances, they are built to handle it. (Plus if it breaks, you know it wasn’t the one for you!) Along the way, I asked people for spindle shopping advice, here is what I took away:

  1. Do not buy a ‘beginner spindle’. It will undoubtably make you think that you suck at spindling and you will probably quit.
  2. Take the tag off to try it. The tag will unbalance it, and you want to know it is balanced.
  3. Buy a spindle that is the right weight for what you spin. I want to spin lace, so 20grams and under is good (.75 oz).  My friend said that the mini ones they gave out at dinner during the door prize was too small (I think it was around 10oz)
  4. The round thing whorl on the stick shaft is going to be as wide as your yarn can be wound onto the spindle.  You would think it would be better to get one with a really large roudn thing on it, but with lace weight, anyway, the lace will then pile up and make the spindle quite heavy for spinning.
  5. A shepherds shaped hook is more effective than a cup hook (shephered herd sheep, not cups).
  6. Where is the weight distributed? You want the spindle to spin forever (or at least until you get to the floor, but if you don’t know how to spin very well, twist it with a piee of fiber and see how easily and how long it will spin. More weight around the edge of the whorl is better because of the laws of physics… like a bike wheel.  My technical language is limited.

Remember that one could (and will) have many spindles. For me, two would be good because I would have one for spinning the lace weight (light – <20gr), and then one for plying (heavier around 28 grams).  However, if you want to only get one, get a nice one (around 50)$ and you can learn to do both on the smaller one.

Overall I think I got away relatively unscathed. I had a lot of fun trying out my new spindle and taking some pics of the FO for tomorrow!  See you then.

Forrester drop spindle in action

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  1. sweetgeorgia
    sweetgeorgia10-29-2009

    Beautiful spindle purchase! And that BBFL/Tussah looks incredibly yummy. I’ll have to go have a look tomorrow evening at the market… I did see those square spindles from Spindlewood. Such an unusual shape, but I’m interested in giving it a try.

  2. Maven
    Maven10-30-2009

    Unfortunately the only place you will be able to get the SOAR fiber is at the silent auction :( They sold out super quickly on wednesday night at a three bag limit per person!

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