Want My First Drop Spindle! Which One?

I’m dying to try drop spinning. I’d love to ask for my first drop spindle for Christmas, but which one? I know there are good and bad ones out there, but I don’t want to spend too much because I’m not sure that I’m really interested in having good knitting time taken up with spinning :roll:

Also, I know I’ll need some roving so are there starter kits? Including spindle and roving, etc? Which ones are good??? I’m so lost here but I keep hearing podcasts about it and can’t wait to try it.

Maine Wood Fiber on Etsy has starter kits and I got one from them last year for Christmas. My MIL got me the top whorl spindle and the Biloxi Blues kit. She also got me the book Spinning the Old Way buy Priscilla Gibbons-Roberts ( I think that is her right last name)

Neat! I love the colors on the one that says (from http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_gallery_4&listing_id=16402151) and I think I’d prefer a top whorl:

[B]Maine Maple Wood Drop Spindle Spinning Kit Biloxi Blues Available in Either Top or Bottom Whorl[/B]

											 												 													Description 												 												 													This is our beautiful handcrafted maple wood drop spindle kit available in either top or bottom whorl with a spindle that has been stained and hand painted with simple folk art. The spindle weighs approimately 1.7 OZ and is 12" tall with a 2 1/2 inch diameter whorl.

A bottom whorl has the whorl weight at the bottom of the shaft and spins slower which is good for heavier yarns which need less twist in them. A top whorl has the weight at the top of the shaft and spins faster which is good for thinner yarns and fine fibers such as angora, alpaca, etc. But, you can spin thin yarn & fine fibers on a bottom whorl but you have to spin it harder as well as you can spin heavier yarn on a top whorl but need to spin it slower. Sometimes, new spinners like the faster top whorl because it spins longer and gives more time to puul the fibers into the twist. I personally prefer a bottom whorl because I find it doesn’t wobble as much since the weight is on the bottom. Basically,they both spin yarn the same way and it is a matter of preference.

This kit includes 4 1/2 ounces of hand painted roving, one roll with turquoise background and accents of purple and royal blue, one roll of solid light purple, one roll of solid blue and one white for practice. There is an illustrated instruction booklet to get you started and a drawstring bag to keep it all in. “Please contact us if you want a top whorl kit,otherwise we will send A Bottom whorl”.

Spinning is an ancient craft and we made this spindle kit to pass on the spinning craft to future generations. We have a smoke free environment and use non-toxic dyes.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn to spin your own yarn and you can take this anywhere and spin!

This would make a fabulous gift for your favorite knitter or crochetter (Which very well may be yourself!).

We gladly combine our other items in our store for savings on shipping charges and we do ship internationally.

Wholesale inquiries and custom orders are welcome.

YUP that is the kit I got.

I had to have my Aunt show me how to use my spindle as I just wasnt getting it.

Louet’s carded Corriedale is a great fiber to start with. The very first fiber I tried was one unknown red I got at one of my LYSs. It wasn’t the easiest, but that could very well be because I didn’t really have much of an idea as to what I was doing. The second fiber I got was a Romney/Shetland blend from smokymountainfibers on etsy. Eight ounces for $9. It smelled absolutely cloud9. I learned sooo much spinning up that stuff. It was also my first ply job. I really need to get some more of that stuff.

As for spindles, my current favorite is a Forrester Lindum Light - about .8 oz. One of my next will be a Bossie featherweight. Yahoo! But then I’ll have to go on a spindle buying hiatus.

Pardon any unintentional misspellings. I’m having fun with my dad’s new mac and learning how to do everything, so part of my attention is elsewhere. :teehee:

The Ashford Classic drop spindle is a nice one to start with. The weight is good for a beginner. Ma and Pa spindles have a great beginner set for $10 including spindle, wool and instructions. A great book is Spinning the Old Way. Many spinners only use a drop spindle. Blue-faced Leicester is a great long-staple wool to start with Corriedale would be my second choice. Merino is a bit short for a beginner and Shetland is very scratchy.

Have fun.

I believe in Corriedale as the very best for a beginning spinner. It is a wonderful wool with plenty of crimp. It isn’t as soft as merino, but isn’t course like long-wools either.

Shetland is another wonderful wool for beginners. the long locks are wonderful. I don’t find it scratchy at all. It’s hard to generalize when it comes to a wool breed. I’ve worked with merino that was soft as silk and other merino that was on the medium side. Same with Corrie and Shetland wools. Some animals in the same breed produce a better quality product.

One of the least expensive places you can get fiber for spinning is from Carol Lee at the Sheep Shed Studio.

She is a master spinner and weaver and happy to talk with you about your purchase.

Another place to check out is Detta’s Spindle. Years ago I bought a drop spindle kit from her that had a spindle, fiber, and beginner spindle-spinning video. I see on her website she still has the video and has some spindles, but I didn’t see if she had any combo-kits, but she’s a wonderful gal and I’m sure she would be happy to help you decide which fiber, video, and/or spindle would be best for you.

You also can make your own by using a wooden wheel for toys like you can get in a hobby or craft store, find a dowel that fits the hole in the center, cut the dowel to whatever length you want, 12-15" is good, place the wheel 1-2" from the end and glue in place, screw a cup hook into the end of the dowel, either end depending whether you want a top or bottom-whorl spindle… You’ll buy the wheels in pairs anyway and the dowel in a 3-foot length, so make one of each, then you can try each of them.

You’ll love spindle spinning. I started on a wheel and eventually tried spindle spinning without ever having seen anyone do it. I basically taught myself, but after I while I was thinking “there must be more to it than this,” and so I ordered the kit from Detta and the video helped a little, but I found that there really wasn’t “more to it” than what I was doing. Spinning is just twisting the fibers into a yarn, whether you do it on a drop spindle or stick or wheel.

I eventually signed up for a handspindle class at the Estes Park Wool Market several years ago, again thinking that there “still must be more to spinning on a drop spindle,” and again, still found out that I was pretty much doing all I need to do to spin… it’s really a very simple and easy concept… it just takes a little time to catch on to it.

But other than the spinning part being exactly what I had already figured out for myself, I did find out that there is indeed “a lot more to it!” After that class I grew to appreciate the history of spinning on the drop spindle, the types of spindles, the variety of spindles and what they all can be used for, etc. But most of all, I fell in love with spindling… be it a drop spindle, a supported spindle, Navajo spindle, a stick I pick up somewhere, whatever!

Every time I pick up a spindle and some fiber I marvel at the simplicity of it and how it works and how I can produce such a wonderful yarn with just my two hands, a little fiber, and such a simple tool!

There is a lot more to spindle spinning than I ever imagined, but it’s more in the heart and the mind and the why, rather than the how.

I hope you find spindle spinning to be as enjoyable and the best advice I can give you is to not give up… it takes practice at first. If you can find a local spinning/fiber shop or spinning group where you can get a demonstration that would help a lot… or get a video, there are several out there. Check out videos on the internet, I’m sure there are some out there.

I was self taught on the spindle, but learned first on a wheel, so my learning curve wasn’t too bad… but I’ve taught a lot of people to spin on a drop spindle and many were producing a decent yarn in less than an hour… some in as little as 15 minutes…some took a bit longer, and some took quite a bit longer…, but they all learned… so you can do it too.

Can you tell I’m a little passionate about spindle spinning?!! :woohoo:

Good luck and let us know what you decide and how you like it!

I love my set of Ashford spindles. I bought the set of five, all with different weights and whorl diameters. It came with a really nice stand. I’ve never had any problems with mine and they are a dream to spin with. I purchased my spindles through The Woolery.

You definitely want a good beginner’s fiber to learn how to spin. The wrong fiber can make learning to spin a nightmare and can quickly discourage a beginner. I’ve only worked with Merino, BFL, Brown Sheep roving and Mohair. From what I’ve heard, superwash wools, bamboo, soy blends and silk tend to be the most difficult to spin. BFL or the Brown Sheep top rovings are, in my experience, the easiest to spin.

You can order pre-dyed rolags of the Brown Sheep top roving from The Sheep Shed Studio. They cost $13.50/pound, and believe me, a pound of roving goes a long way. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can purchase their white top roving called Punta (from the South American region where it comes from) for $12.50/pound. That is what I use and I dye it myself.