DO YOU LOVE YARN? Part 1
By Jill Holbrook
Do you love yarn? Of course, I could be wrong but I think yarn is what attracts most knitters. It certainly keeps us knitting.
I knit for years with lots of different yarns, enchanted by the colors, the texture, the touch. I suddenly thought if I could spin my own yarns I would never run out of yarn and it would be cheaper.
Okay, so that last bit has not worked out. Some fibers are more expensive than commercial yarns, but the rest is true. Not only do I not run out of yarns, I can make yarns that machines cannot. I can make multi-colored yarns that do not pool I can tailor a yarn for a specific project. I have learned way more than just the technique of spinning such as fiber characteristics, the history of sheep, the politics of cotton, what yarn works best for which project, how to best care for different yarns and their end product. The list goes on. Spinning has been such a gift for me not only in what I have learned but also in relaxation and the stress relief it brings.
Being human when we are in love with something we want to share it. I am here to promote learning to spin.
Spindle Spinning is portable, inexpensive, fun and relaxing. A spindle can do anything a wheel can do and maybe more. When wheels were first introduced weavers considered spindle spun yarn superior to wheel spun. Spindles are lovely and a connection to the past. They are among the most ancient of manmade tools and probably inspired the invention of the wheel.
There are many different types of spindles. Spindles can be supported, that is, held in a bowl or on the ground while spinning. Or spindles can be suspended. Suspended spindles (also known as drop spindles) can have the whorl at the top, the bottom or even the middle. Top whorl spindles can be rolled on the thigh for faster spinning.
A good spindle does not wobble when it spins and it spins for a long time. Usually this means the spindle has a slender shaft and a wide whorl or a whorl with more weight on the rim. When possible always try out a spindle before buying it.
Heavier spindles are used to make thicker yarns and for plying while light spindles spin fine fibers and yarns. Very light weight spindles are usually support spindles.