Alpaca Direct Blog

Top 6 Reasons You Should Start Spinning On A Drop Spindle

You've seen beautiful handspun yarns.  You've lusted after the staggering variety of fibers and colors available to spinners.  You've gone to a local spin in or fiber fest and drooled over the fibers, longing to join in with the other spinners. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="128"]Spiinning on a Drop Spindle Shooting Star Yarn Hand Painted Merino Top Huckleberry[/caption] But, you ask, isn't spinning expensive?  Spinning wheels are big and cost a lot of money.  Your house is already overrun by yarn.  How can you justify adding spinning to your list of fiber obsessions...I mean, hobbies? You know you want to, though.  You just can't help yourself. The good news is that spinning doesn't have to be an expensive hobby to start.  A few ounces of top and a drop spindle are all you need, along with someone to show you how to do it.

Top 6 Reasons to Start Spinning On A Drop Spindle

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Spinning on a drop spindle Tiger Mountain Spindle[/caption]
  1. Easy way to start spinning.  A spindle is essentially just a circular weight on a stick.  To start spinning, all you need is fiber, and a way to insert twist into the fiber.  A spindle is a very simple tool for doing just that.  You spin the spindle with your hand, and it inserts twist into the fiber connected to it.  There's very little to it, and that allows you to focus on getting good at drafting the fiber, rather than concerning yourself with tension and treadling and orofices and bobbins.
  2. Easy to control.  Because a spindle is a tool, rather than a machine, it is easy to control how much twist is inserted into the fiber.  It's quick and easy to start and stop.  A spinning wheel is a machine.  There's more interference between you and the fiber when you use a machine (even a non-electric one), and more things that can break.
  3. Low cost investment to start.  Spindles can be really inexpensive and still high quality.  You can get a good spindle for around $20 or a kit complete with fiber for $40. It is certainly possible to spend a lot more money on spindles and fiber, but the point is that you don't have to do that at any point in your spinning career.  You can get a spindle and spin the fluff from your aspirin bottle and be happy.  Probably you'll want something nicer to spin, though.
  4. Portable.  Spindle spinning is extremely portable.  In some ways its even more portable than knitting.  It's easy to stuff a wad of fiber and your spindle in your bag to take with you.  To keep it organized, you can keep it all in a Ziplock or splurge on something a little more fancy.  But, you don't need as many notions or accessories as you do with knitting, and it's much more difficult to lose a spindle than a knitting needle or crochet hook.
  5. You get to play with a greater variety of fibers.  If you knit or crochet, you've probably used wool, alpaca, cotton, and maybe another luxury fiber or two like silk or cashmere.  As a spinner, you get Corriedale, Polwarth, Merino, Bluefaced Leicester (BFL), Targhee, Shetland, Icelandic, Coopworth, and Babydoll Southdown.  And those are just the wool varieties I've pulled off the top of my head.  You also get to choose from Suri or Hucaya alpaca and luxury blends with things like baby camel and cashmere.  There's milk fiber, corn fiber, bamboo viscose, Angelina fiber to add sparkle, and silk.  The possibilities are mind boggling.
  6. You get to make your own yarn.  Probably the best reason to start spinning is that you get to make your own yarn.  Imagine how cool it will feel when someone compliments your hat or fingerless mitts or sweater, and you can tell them that you knit it from yarn you spun yourself.  Plus, you'll be invaluable in a zombie apocalypse.
Ready to start spinning?  Our next Beginning Spinning class is July 20, 1:00-3:00 pm.  Call the store to sign up and reserve your spot! Already a spinner and want to make more spinning friends?  Come to our Open Spinning group the second Friday of every month at noon. Do you spin?  Do you want to spin?  Tell us about your spinning in the comments!

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Posted by brenda foust on Wed, Oct-05-2016, 18:03

I have always wanted to learn. I am a crocheter. I love it. Love to work with my hands. Always been a passion of mine. I also do ceramics, painting, and woodworking.

Posted by Debbie D. on Wed, Oct-05-2016, 18:03

Well written article, Jessica. Can’t wait till my next class.

Posted by Jessica Hrehor on Wed, Oct-05-2016, 18:03

Do it. It’s fun and a nice change of pace when you want to play with fiber but can’t or don’t feel like working on your other yarny pastimes. If you can’t make our classes here in the shop, we have how to videos on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/AlpacaDirect. Our new buying guide for spinning might also be helpful for you.

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