Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Myth Busting

There's a myth out there that drop spindles, or as Abby Franquemont prefers to call them, "suspended spindles", are just for beginners. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As she points out in her book, "Respect the Spindle", spindles can be used to produce all types of yarn and were used for everything from rope to fine cotton until the advent of the wheel around 500-600 years ago. Spindles are especially good for making fine lace-weight knitting yarns. Shawl knitters, take note!
It does takes more practice to become a reasonably competent spindle spinner than it does to learn to spin on a wheel. I'm no spinning expert. I guess I'd have to say at this point, though, that I've moved from novice to intermediate in my skill levels. I seem to gave got to the point where not only can I make usable knitting yarn, but I can custom-spin the yarn I want to work with.
Yesterday, I used my shoebox kate to wind my singles into a two-strand centre-pull ball, which I then plied using a larger spindle.

2-strand centre-pull ball ready for plying.
Plying in progress.
The wool magically fluffs out after washing and drying.
The finished product.
I don't obsess about getting my handspinning perfectly even and smooth, although I do try to end up with a yarn that will work to a fairly constant gauge. If I wanted an even, smooth yarn, I'd buy something commercial. The point of handspinning for me, is to wind up with a unique and beautiful yarn to make a unique and even more beautiful piece of handknitting. I hope you'll give spindle spinning a whirl.