Spindles are amazing little beasties. I have tried spindling quite a few times, and only in the last couple of years have I appreciated it's beauty. Now Arthur has gone (the Merlin Tree Roadbug) I am happy to take a spindle on holiday and some crochet hooks. Portable, small, lovely. I truly believe that if you don't like spindling, then it is only because you haven't found the right spindle yet. They are pretty cheap, so I think it is worth getting a few and selling on, until you are happy. And if you are not yet happy, have you thought of trying a support spindle? The drop ones are fine, as long as they are not too heavy, but even then to learn on, I think it is worth supporting them in a bowl or on a table whilst you get to grips with it. And why continue to support this craft? Well, if you are here, it is likely you love spinning, so it is also likely you take your knitting/crochet away with you when you go anywhere. This will allow you to spin anywhere too, and not miss the feeling of fluff in your hands.
So let us get down to the different types of spindle.
Firstly, there are top spindles, where the hook, notch or tip is spun from the top. These are best used as drop spindles in my opinion. Here are a few examples in my collection. Personally I prefer a hook, rather than having to half hitch every time I move on, but that is personal.
Then there are bottom whorl spindles. These are easier to support when the weight is on the bottom. They can be supported on a table where you spin, and the finger used to just flick whenever you want to put twist into your yarn, or they can be supported with a bowl or tea saucer. They can of course be used as drop spindles, which unless they are too heavy, may still be your preference.
Next are Turkish spindles. They cleverly create a centre pull ball as they are wound on the spindle. This has the huge advantage that the spindle is spinner, ball winder and plyer all in the one tool. Once the ball is created, take it off and onto your thumb, and then ply back onto the spindle using the two ends from the ball. It makes it incredibly portable, as you only need this and some fluff, and also, as the parts come apart, they are easy to stash away in your bag! I also have one that can be used either as a top or bottom whorl, to suit your mood!
Finally there are support spindles (russian spindles). These appear to be sticks, but in being supported, they spin from the very tip of the spindle. No hook or hitch, just spin and go. I only have a couple of these, and don't often use them, but again, very portable. The key is to find the most comfortable support mechanism, and I don't think I have done that yet.
The number of designs and choice available for spindling is vast. I find it a bit addictive collecting these beautiful tools. And now Arthur has gone, this is most likely the spinner of choice when we go away. They may not be as quick as a wheel, but it is slow, meditative, considered yarn making, and I can get behind that, can't you?
In a future post, I will go into the specifics of how to spin on a spindle. It really isn't as tricky as you think.
Love and light