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June 22, 2008



I spent the first nine months of learning to spin on a spindle. I wanted to learn how to spin properly and felt that the spindle was the least expensive and fastest method to do so. I have a few spindles laying around, but since buying a wheel, I've only used the wheel. Thanks for putting the spindle & wheel in perspective.


I'm one of those sad and sorry souls who can't spin on a drop spindle to save my life. It's always the wheel for me but my sister loves using her spindles and produces tons of lovely yarn with them. She finds it very relaxing and she can take it anywhere and spin any time. I can't say the same for my wheels no matter how "portable" they might claim to be.

Benita Story

I recognize that merio top - Ashland Bay's Sandlewood color way. I have spun 2 pounds of it and have six more pounds to spin. Then, I'll throw the two-ply yarn onto the loom and weave fabric for a suit (which explains why I'm spinning so much.) The scarf in it look beautiful! Don't you just love the depth of the color? Anything goes with is and it is such a lovely thing to behold (and be holding since it is merino).

The Other Kristen

Wheels are faster by the hour; spindles, faster by the week--right? I started on a spindle, and it was more than a year before I got a wheel. I love both, and need to adopt your habit of leaving a spindling project in a readily accessible place.

Abby's batt is lovely. Every fiber prep of hers that I've seen has been glorious in color and fiber selection. Some day, I will buy one of her batts for myself!


Do you ply as you're spindling, or do you wait and ply it later, if at all?

Ted notes: It varies. Sometimes I wait til I have all the singles spun off, or sometimes I "ply as I go". It will also depend how much there is to ply. If a large amount, I'll wait and likely wheel-ply. (If I can ever sit comfortably again!) When I was doing the distaffs, for example, I'd spin as much cotton as I figured I'd need, wind the singles onto my nostepinde to form a centre-pull ball, then wind 2 plies --using both ends of the ball-- onto a felt ball, and then spindle-ply. Some people can spin a 2 ply yarn from a centre-pull ball, but I get a lot of snags so I prefer to wind into a ball and then ply.

Since I was doing a 4-ply cabled yarn, I'd wind off to the nostepindle and onto a felt ball and spindle-ply again. It was surprisingly fast.

I prefer to spin all the singles I need (or will make) and then ply. That's just me; others do it differently. The thing about the spindle, though, is that you can spin singles and wind off to balls for storage, accumulating a surprising amount over a period of time.


phew... you did have me a bit worried. [eyebrow back to regular scowly position now ;)]

hope your back [and other] aches are on the wane... I blame some of the zoodley energy of the last several weeks on good old Mercury retrograde (again)... thankfully now direct.

the spinning looks awesome, btw.


Major sympathy for the back pain; mine was never that bad, but I remember the frustration and the pain.

As for spindles vs wheel: I like both, but judging by how much I spin on which, I prefer spindles. I somehow feel more involved with the process, perhaps because of the more pronounced rhythm of spinning and winding on. As you say, spindling takes advantage of all those spare seconds or minutes, wherever you find them. My current travelling project (laceweight merino) walked the West Highland Way with me, taught someone how to spin on the train back to London, returned to the Torridon, lured the (late) return flight into the airport (I know that my found time will end within a minute or two if I start pre-drafting a length of fibre). I was very pleased to discover security didn't question the Bosworth and wool in my belt pouch. I just wish I'd remembered to take the sewing kit out of my backpack.


Thank you for a wonderful scarf, Ted! It's fabulously soft and drapey. And I think the color is great on me. Now we just have to wait for the weather to cool a bit. :-) Sorry for the bad pictures.

I am going to follow your example and leave portable projects near my desk. Something to knit, something to spin. I need to stop letting stress take away all that fiber fun. After all, spinning and knitting help me de-stress. I am reminded of that every time I pick up a project.


What a beautiful pink. Makes me want to try drop spinnign. Almost.
I too, know exactly where my right SI joint is. Five years ago, I didn't know SI joints existed. I belive I have ankylosing spondilitis. At the start of June my doctor put a referral in for a rheumatologist in Brampton. I got my apt. notice this week....Nov 25. Sure, our healthcare is 'free' but at what personal cost?!

Lorraine Smith

Hey Ted,
Sorry to hear about the back pain--hope you're feeling better. I just wanted to tell you that both Trina (my neighbour and retreater from last year) and I were remarking today how we feel like we're sort of between projects. I mean, there's a bit of this and that on the go (and let's not even visualize the UFO bin) but I'm not "working on anything" per se. I suspect this too shall pass.

Oh and yes, spindles rock. I love my wheels, but they will never nudge my spindles out of the way.

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