Questions & Answers

I ask a lot of questions. About everything. All the time.

A few weeks ago I was having some leg pain that was seriously harshing my spinning mojo, so I had a couple conversations with some trusted spinning friends about ways to continue spinning through this. They had loads of great ideas from things I can change about how I’m seated at my wheel to simply using my double treadle as a single treadle and a ton of little things in between. The discussion shifted a bit to other wheels. While I love my wheel and its incredible versatility, those times when my body isn’t cooperating can be frustrating. The ultimate dream would be to someday own a miniSpinner which is treadle-less and thus would completely bypass my less than reliable legs. It’s also super portable, so it would travel well and in many ways suit my life. It’s quite an investment, though, and now isn’t the right time for me to go there — who knows, that time may never come for me. I had a feeling my ‘answer’ was still out there though, that there was something that would allow me to spin even when my legs weren’t cooperative and even when I wanted something more mobile than my wheel.

All this happened to coincide with a couple spinning friends sharing some incredible photos of spindle spinning on which they’d been working. And then Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm happened to pose the question, “How about a spindle?” A million more questions rolled forth and I embarked on a journey to learn about all the things I never knew about spindle spinning. I have to say that between Mary Ann & the exceptionally talented ladies in the TWF Ravelry Group, I have had the most incredible, exceptional help in everything from learning about spindles themselves to specific skills. I could not be any luckier and I don’t know that I’d be in the very lovely spot that I’m in with regards to spindle spinning without them.

That said, today I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on three spindles I’ve been lucky enough to try out. Each of these spindles is the exact same weight — 0.85oz — and yet each I find to be innately unique. While I’m still quite new to spindle spinning, I’ve come to regard each of them as excellent tools as well. So of course I want to share them with you!

The first I’d like to share is from Golding Fiber Tools.

img_2945It’s one of their most basic spindles, Solid Lignum Vitae with a Bronze Ring with Black Finish.

img_2944The whorl measures 2″ & the shaft is 6.75″ long. This is the spindle that revolutionized how I see spindle spinning. This little joy feels substantial in my hands, but it is wonderfully stable & graceful & it spins forever. This is an artisan piece that has a very practical nature. It’s kind of like chanting, “Om” in spindle form. There is a whole lot about this spindle that I connect with on many levels — it’s really a joy l connect with on many levels.

The next spindle I tried was the Akerworks Trillium. When I use it I’m right here in the moment. Bright & happy, this spindle is meant to go with you everywhere.img_2948This spindle’s whorl is 3D printed in ABS plastic and includes stainless steel weights at the end of each ‘petal’ which helps with the physics of it all, insuring the spin time is nice and long. The shaft is made of a black carbon fiber composite.

img_2946One of the super neat things about Akerworks is that you can mix and match components with their spindles — both the colors and sizes. It may look like all fun and games, but I swear to you just like the company’s Flat-Pack Bobbins this is one well-engineered tool.

I picked a Small whorl which is 2″ across and a Medium shaft which is 8″ long. I really like how my Trillium spins. Especially once I got some yardage on it, it spins right to the floor for me. I find the carbon fiber shaft has a very comfortable width and feel to it. I’m still in the muscle-building stages of this journey and the slightly bigger width of the shaft is a little easier on my hands when it comes to wrapping my yarn on. As an added bonus, you can adjust the hub to put it just where you want it on the shaft and you can actually take the whorl off (even with the cop on) for easier travel. Knowing me and my tiny car cross-country family adventures, I’m sure you know this is a pretty sweet added bonus in my book.

And last but not least, I tried a Bosworth Mini.

img_2942This is a Bubinga Standard Mini with a Birch Shaft — the whorl is about 2″ and the shaft is 9″ long.

img_2943Bosworths (commonly referred to as ‘Bossies’) are highly lauded in the spindle spinning community. In fact, I asked three people independently which spindles I should try and Bosworth was the top choice of all three. I’ll say now that I’ve tried it, I totally get it. Spinning on a Bosworth is a little other-worldly in my mind because I can feel it spinning, but I don’t actually feel the weight of the spindle while I’m spinning.  Maybe gravity isn’t quite as strong under a Bosworth or maybe it’s just the elegant design,both aesthetically and the physics of it. Either way, this beauty certainly deserves the props it gets.

Which would I recommend to you? Honestly, I would recommend each of them very highly and at this point I can’t say that I have a preference. I really like that anti-gravity feel of the Bossie and the super comfortable shaft and long spin-time of the Akerworks and I adore that deep, earthy spin of the Golding. I may very well develop a preference over time, but for now I’m actually enjoying using them as a group for the same project, switching spindles whenever I start to lose my gusto. I don’t have any idea if that’s something normal spindle spinners do, but it really seems to be floating my boat these days so I’m just going with it. With a feel for spindle spinning in my hands, an interesting collection of spindles at my disposal, and a bunch of new techniques to work on, I seem to have found an answer to my question by way of a another question. Four little words — “How about a spindle?” — has certainly opened up a wonderful new world for me. Off I go, in search of the next question!

img_2941

14 responses to “Questions & Answers

  1. Thanks for the post on your new beauties! I, too, am adoring my two spindles (a Golding and a midi Bossie, and I’m about to spring for another Bossie). I’d been wanting a folding or very portable spinning wheel for hauling to and from our cabin, but I think that desire just flew out the window when the first spindle arrived.

    • My wheel does fold, but it’s not the kind I’ll take on day trips or to the park with the kids. Spindles! Absolutely! They are great fit for this moment in my life & the variety of feels these 3 offer change the dynamic and keep it fresh for me (which is often my struggle). Yay for spindles! Enjoy yours!

      Oh, and I have to ask – what Golding & what type of wood is the Bossie?

      • I have the same Golding, and my Bossie is a midi Red Cedar, 21 grams. It smells divine. I’m in the process of ordering a mini. And, I’ll probably look and see what’s around at Shepherds Harvest in May. I’d like to leave a spindle and Fiber at the cabin, so I don’t have to worry about forgetting one.

      • Shepherds Harvest?! That’s on my bucket list to attend sometime. I’ve heard such great things about it.

        I’m super jealous of the Red Cedar — someday I’d love to add a little featherweight Red Cedar to my collection (yes, I’m already thinking about future Christmas gifts in the form of Featherweight Bosworths and Mini Akerworks). Leaving one at your cabin is an awesome, awesome idea! I find myself tucking a spindle in with my knitting when I go out on day trips with the family. I love that if I find myself waiting I can knit *or* spin. So much fun!

  2. When you are ready, try support spindle spinning. It’s a learning curve, but I think you’ll really love that as well. Many evenings has me on the couch, feet up, still making yarn.

    • Roger that! I would LOVE to! Can I message you sometime with some support spindle questions? I am totally in the dark there (I actually thought you needed a flat surface for it like a table…*hides face in shame*)

  3. If it comes down to a treadleless spinner, you might want to consider selling your spinning and use the proceeds to pay for it. I did this in the early 80’s with sewing. I needed a server for the sewing jobs (at home with babies) and I eventually paid it off and over a years time made more $$ doing alterations and dressmaking which allowed my to buy a Bernina sewing machine. The jobs paid for this many times over (justified it).

    I still have both machines ad they are still working great as well as a spinning wheel. 🙂

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve thought about it, but haven’t found a venue that works for me yet. Plus, I just don’t really produce yarn fast enough I don’t think to make that the best option for me. I’ll save my pennies, I think I’ll get there one day. 🙂

  4. This is super helpful. Thank you!! I’m currently looking for my first spindle & leaning toward Bosworth. I now spinning on a handmade one. It is aesthetically so elegant! Looking forward to learning so much more!!!

    • Oh, I’m glad! I was very thankful to have such wonderful online friends who help me out with recommendations and tips and what-not. The Bosworth is definitely very nice indeed. You won’t be disappointed!

  5. My first spindle was home made from a dowel rod, cup hook, and old cd. I learned to spin on it and was making pretty good yarn when I got my spinning wheel. I have a beautiful supported spindle that I have yet tried out (kind of scared!).

    • My very first spindle was made from a dowel + toy train wheel + hook from the craft store that a friend constructed at a craft night. It totally worked (except for the fact that I was terrible with it), but there’s definitely a difference between the homemmade and these higher-end spindles. The balance is pretty remarkable & I was actually shocked at how smooth the spin is. Supported spindles are next on my list, or so my guru (shellssells from her blog Suzy Sells Sea Shells) tells me. 😉

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