New Toys and a Poll

I’m going to be taking some spinning classes this fall, and in the process, I’m going to have to face down some fears. Long ago, my first spinning experience came with a drop spindle, and it clicked perfectly with me. In a matter of minutes, I was making good yarn. Then I lost my spindle and roving (perhaps because it was all stored in a trash bag?), and it was years before I found another. (Be nice! This was before internet!) Somehow, in the ensuing years, I lost whatever it is I had that made things go well for me with a drop spindle. Although I love spinning on supported spindles, the drop spindles continue to tax my patience beyond belief – especially since I know that I “can” do it somewhere deep inside of me.

So, I sign up for classes and discover that successful drop spindling is part of the game – gulp! After a couple weeks of consideration, I came to two conclusions. First, since my default spinning seems to be lace to fingering weight yarn, I need to get some lighter spindles. Second, if I’m going to have to spend time conquering this new old skill, I wanted tools that I could truly enjoy, so the task was more pleasant. After a few more days of debate, I finally took the plunge. Of course, I’m me clear to the core, and I couldn’t make a final decision, so…

First, I went to Etsy. Now I have a tremendous prejudice against top whorl spindles, basically because I’m constantly proving why they are called drop spindles, and when a top whorl spindle hits the floor, the yarn cop slides down the spindle. Sliding it up tends to start messing with the shape and stability of it, and before long,  I have a misshapen wad hanging on the shaft of my spindle. Bottom whorls prevent this little problem. However, I think I’m part of only 1% of the world in this preference, based on what is available for purchase. There were almost no bottom whorl spindles on Etsy, and the few that there were just didn’t thrill my spirit. I’m not into the wooden wheel on a dowel look – at least not when I want something that teases me into playing with it. I also had specifications that the spindle was to be between 1 and 1.5 ounces. However, I did sort of find the cutest little Turkish spindle, and it followed me home – HONEST! 😉

It’s under class weight, being well under an ounce (actually just 0.7 ounces), but how could I leave this adorable little baby motherless? And it’s beautifully made. Just for the record, it has lots of equally adorable siblings in Threads Thru Time’s Etsy Shop… And if that isn’t enough to tease you into thinking about letting one follow you home, I grabbed a lock of the Shetland fleece I washed a week or two back, and look what it helped me make! Now THIS is an enticement for me to play with a spindle! 😉

Now, that I’d thoroughly explored and abused that rabbit trail, getting nowhere nearer the goal of a spindle for class, I started to wonder if this might finally be the time for me to cave in and get a Golding drop spindle – something I’d been holding off doing, as I had considered it more an achievement award than an enticement to spindle at all. However, after searching diligently around the site, not one bottom whorl spindle was in sight. So much for that idea… until a couple days later when yet more searching had still not turned up “the” perfect class spindle, and I went back to the Golding site – for about the 17th time. This time I spotted the phone number and made a call. 🙂 Happy me when I found out that many of their standard spindles can be made with a bottom whorl! Unhappy me when I had to decide which “ONE” I wanted most! And I have to confess that I thoroughly failed in the end…

and bought not one, but two…

This one with the marvelous Celtic sheep has a 2.75″ whorl and weighs precisely 1.5 ounces, so is at the top of the suggested weight range. Still, it feels lighter to me than the wheel on a dowel things I’d tried, so I’m feeling hopeful. Besides, it’s seriously cool just to look at!

And this one with the rosette has a 2″ whorl and weighs just a tiny hint over 1 ounce, so is at the bottom of the classroom suggested range. The petite size made it feel comfortable from the moment I touched it, but I’ve not tried spinning with it yet. There’s something important I need to do first, but more about that later…

So the bit about having a horrible time making a decision… well… there is still that “reward spindle” concept floating around out there. Perhaps I need a special top whorl once I re-conquer this skill… :o)

And now for the poll…

In an effort to figure out why almost no one makes pretty bottom whorl spindles, I’d like to know what people like best. Perhaps I really am part of 1% of spinners. 😉 Please feel free to add additional thoughts and insights as comments to this post. You may pick as many as three answers.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ack!!!! No room on there for my treadle wheel????!!!!

  2. Sorry ’bout that, Norma! We’ll give Gertrude honorary mention here, though, okay? And I totally forgot to include e-spinners on the list, so…


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