Archive for January, 2009

New Year, New Spinning

Happy New Year, everyone!


So far, things have been quiet around here. I’ve been doing lots of spinning so far, with not so much knitting.

After spinning on a friend’s supported spindle, I decided that I needed to get DSCN0480one for myself. So, yesterday, I opened the mailbox to find my new Tibetan spindle, which I had ordered from The Wheel Thing earlier this week.

Ordering handmade items over the Internet always feels like a gamble to me. Sometimes, I get really nice things at very reasonable prices. Other times, I wind up with poor quality products that I would not buy in person at any price. I won the gamble with this spindle! It is absolutely lovely, solidly and beautifully made, and performs exceptionally well. It is perfectly balanced and has lots of momentum, so it spins fast for a long time. Both tips are sharp, but not so much that I risk injury, and I can balance the bottom tip on my leg to wind on without being scratched or punctured. The shaft is just grabby enough so that the yarn doesn’t slide off, without being completely unfinished and rough. Working with a tool like this is always a joy.

For anyone unfamiliar with spinning and spindles, a supported spindle is a type DSCN0476 of spindle that rests on the ground or a hard surface such as a bowl while it spins, unlike a drop spindle, which hangs from the yarn as it is being spun. Both types of spindles have their pros and cons. Small supported spindles, such as Tibetan or Russian spindles, are excellent for spinning very fine yarn out of delicate fibers such as cashmere. Because the spun fiber does not have to support the weight of the spindle, the spinner can create an extremely thin yarn without using an excessive amount of twist. If you want to see a Tibetan spindle in action, there is an excellent video on YouTube here.

A few weeks ago, I needed a part for my spinning wheel. I found the part for $2 at Woodland Woolworks. Not wanting to pay $2 for the part and $5 or more to ship it, I decided to also order some prepared fiber for spinning. I ordered a DSCN0485 pound of wool: 8 oz of Finnsheep top, and 8 oz of Romney/Perendale carded wool. When the package came in the mail, I was surprised to get a fairly small box. My first thought was that they must have been out of the wool I had ordered, so they had left it out of the shipment. Then I opened the box, wherein I found the part I had ordered, along with two paper tubes full of wool. Each tube was about 2 or 3 inches in diameter. A bit puzzled, I cut the tape on one tube and unrolled it. Out popped a huge mass of wool! Over the next day or so, the wool kept expanding, so now I have a huge airy bundle of wool. I’ve never ordered wool before this without being able to feel it first, so I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice this stuff is. I spun a sample and it is wonderful to work with. In the past I’ve had some trouble with Internet orders not being what I had hoped for, but so far this year I’m doing great!

One last thing:



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