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You may have noticed that one of my vacation goals is to practice spindle spinning. I’ve actually been practicing with the spindle since I came home from New Hampshire Sheep & Wool.

Turns out, I don’t hate spinning on a spindle, I just wasn’t using the right spindle for me. See, I bought two spindles back in October 2005. One was a Bosworth and one was pretty. I can’t remember who made the pretty one but I liked the wood so I bought it. And I tried to learn spinning on the pretty spindle and I couldn’t do it. So I gave up spinning with the spindle. I never even tried the Bosworth. You know the rest of this story – the next day I went out and bought a wheel and I didn’t touch the spindles again.

And all this time I thought I couldn’t spin on a spindle. I felt kind of pathetic about that, frankly, and I came home from New Hampshire Sheep & Wool with a fresh spindling lesson from Marcy and a determination to really get some skills with the spindle. When I picked up those silk hankies I decided to give the Bosworth spindle a shot. And guess what? My spindling problems weren’t all about me they were also about the spindle I was using. That pretty spindle? It spins like crap. The Bosworth, though? Now that’s a spindle that you can learn to spin with. Can I get a woo? And also a hoo?


Of course, this story doesn’t end here. Once I discovered that I could spin on a spindle, well, I wanted more spindles. I went to that wool thing in Rhode Island and I bought a very nice and rather light weight spindle that was made by Cathy. Cindy actually helped me pick it out. The stone is Jasper and the shaft is maple. It’s very pretty and it spins pretty well.

Then I read a Kirsten’s blog post about her search for the perfect spindle. The next thing I knew I had emailed Steve and he had emailed me and we had decided on a design and wood to be used and lo and behold, I have another spindle.



Isn’t it gorgeous? Oh yeah, babe. Steve is fabulous to work with and really wants to have happy spinners spinning with his spindles. He had a couple of these square ones and I couldn’t decide which one I liked best so he custom made this one for me. The whorl is Birds Eye Maple and the shaft is Purpleheart and it spins and spins and spins. I think I’m in love.

Too bad I didn’t discover this love of spindles before I bought all those spinning wheels. I probably could have saved a lot money.


Or not.

This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Well, you aren’t by chance thinking of selling that lovely Spa purchase are you? Yeah, I thought not.

    Bosworth spindles are wonderful! Jonathan and Sheila are the featured mentors at guild this Saturday, if you feel like joining us.

  2. I’m thinking not.

    (My one and only spindle is a Bosworth … and I bought it not because I had any idea what I was doing but because they’re local to me and their son worked on my house, so when I saw their booth at Rhinebeck I had to buy from them.)

  3. I have a Kundert that I love. I’ve been looking at those stone whorl spindles – wondering if they spin as well as wood. I guess I just keep thinking that stone is too heavy?

    Spindle-spinning makes me a better wheel-spinner – it’s all about the drafting, baybee.

  4. Once you have the hang of spindling from really good spindles, it is easier to use just about any spindle. By the way, have you seen Golding spindles. Just thought I’d mention them because they are both beautiful and spin forever, even the laceweight ones!

  5. Next you gotta get a Golding. I love my Bosworths, but I love my Goldings more. Not that you’d know it, since I never use them…but for spinning, they literally can’t be beat.

  6. Oh yes, Goldings are wonderful. Anne’s (Wooly Wonka) Dave makes a very nice spindle, too! It’s a fun thing to collect spindles and they are WAY cheaper than wheels.

  7. Well, they do take up less space than wheels, that’s for sure. But I’m still not sold on the spindle thing.

  8. It definitely is a finding the right spindle that works best for you. Your new one is a beauty! I would never have thought that a square spindle could spin well…LOL

  9. Pretty spindles. I have been struggling with my two spindles. Maybe I need a new one to get the spinning mojo going…

  10. I am sure you still would have bought at least one of those wheels and been happy for the speedier spindling, but I had to learn the same hard lesson… a bad spindle just doesn’t do the same job. I now have several of Elizabeth Dailey’s spindles and a Moosie from the Bosworths, which is a wonderful spindle. Enjoy your new friends!

  11. For some reason, I don’t do that well with Bosworths or Goldings, although Lord knows I have several of each! My favorite at the moment is an $18, plain vanilla low-whorl spindle that I don’t even remember the origin of. Oh, and that cherry one from Halcyon that is turned from one piece of wood, shaft included. The square one really intrigues me…I wonder if he makes a low-whorl?

  12. Mmmmmmmmmm. Lovely. Beautiful. Carole. I love this post! I am so in love with my two simple spindles that Margene has gotten for me. I was so afraid to buy a spindle and then not be able to use it. Now I am looking forward to Estes. My first wool festival. I hope they have Golding spindles there because I’m going to have a CRAZY hard time deciding what to get if they don’t. Thanks for showing off your beautiful spindles. I’m in the mood that I don’t even want to do any spinning until after Estes because I want to use a new spindle. ha I’m looking forward to knowing how the rest of your vacation week goes. Have a great restful happy week. xoxox 🙂

  13. Yay for something else to enjoy 😉

    I will learn to spin on a spindle someday and then I’ll get a wheel, or two 😉

  14. You would have ended up with a wheel as well anyway. I have 5 spindles, love to spindle spin and still have a wheel. 🙂

  15. Probably not! But I’m impressed at your tenacity with the drop spindle.

    I’ll have to give mine another whirl (hee hee)!!

  16. So happy to hear that the spindle is working for you. I just can’t get the hang of it but maybe i’ll try it again someday. Maybe I need a different spindle.
    Just catching up after the weekend and I saw your goals. I hope that your having fun trying to reach them all.

  17. WOO! HOO! I’m soooo happy for you. 😀 And special-ordering spindles already. You make my heart sing.

    Just so you know? Collecting spindles and collecting wheels are not mutually exclusive activities. Not that I know anything about it. Ahem.

    Oh, and the pretty spindle? The Kundert in the photo up there? It may just need its hook tweaked a bit to make it spin well. Have a seasoned spindler take a look at it.

  18. i don’t think so. they’re two different animals i’m thinking. i’m also thinking that maybe i don’t have the right spindle either because i’m not a huge fan of spindle spinning. too bad the festivals are over until october 😉 phew!

  19. I’m guessing you wouldn’t have saved much money 🙂

    I was one who learned to spindle spin after getting half-way decent on the wheel. I don’t know, the wheel was better. Aside from my CD spindle my fav spindle is the first one I bought. I am yearning for one of those square ones though. I have a little obsession with squares and grids and rectilinear shapes so it seems a natural choice.

  20. Ooh, and it’s so pretty, too. There’s just something so cool about a square spindle!

    (Oh, and my favorite spindle? My Kundert. And that Turkish spindle I got from Teyani is pretty great, too, although I STILL want a hook on the top….)

  21. Spindle p0rn, hooray! 🙂 I never get tired of beauty shots of well-made spindles. That jasper one is gorgeous!

    I’m so glad you’re coming over to the dark side. I have long maintained that the very best travel wheel of all is a spindle. 😉 You can even keep one in your desk at work…

  22. I vote not. Given that spindles are both more portable and more affordable than wheels, I’m looking forward to watching your collection grow.

  23. Woo! & Hoo!

    Think of the fiber you could have gotten if you had not gotten the wheels. o.0 And thanks for the spindle lesson. I had no idea that spindle and owner needed to fit together. It does make sense. Just never thought of it before. Something for me to keep in mind. ;^)

  24. I think not too.

    I still can’t spin on a spindle. The two I have are big and heavy and I think that might be part of my problem. The other part would be that I haven’t practiced very much.

  25. You can’t seriously expect us to believe earlier spindle success would’ve impeded your wheel purchasing zeal, darling.

  26. Woo.

    So glad that spindling has finally found you. And the collection of spindles as well. Lovely.

    So, in conclusion, I leave you with the following:


    That is all.

  27. Ooo..they’re so pretty. My family gave me a spindle for Christmas and I haven’t had a chance to really learn to use it yet. Hopefully this summer I’ll be able to give it a go. I’m envious of all the pretty yarn I see out there!

  28. Or not! I had the same experience with a spindle. I got one as a gift and struggled and struggled. Then I bought my wheel, played around with it, took the class at Estes and then bought a new spindle last year at Estes (remember that?). Spinning on it is an entirely different experience. I think part of it may have been that I’d learned to draft between my first try and the second more successful one. I think drafting on a wheel is easier because you can slow things down enough to learn the technique. Anyway, all this spindle talk makes me want to go home and get mine out of the closet. Oh, and now you can check one thing off that list of goals! You go grrrl.

  29. He he he he he…or not, indeed. 😉

    Spindles are so cheap compared to wheels that they end up seeming like ‘behaving’, and somehow they just end up being a lot like the sock yarn. Sure, you end up being a lot more discerning in your purchases, but……well, you know.

    Betcha can’t have just…er 4.

  30. I love my Lollipop spindle. It’s cute and very light. Spindling is a ton o’ fun…especially on the right spindle. Glad you found yours!

  31. I love me my spindles! and they in no way replace my wheels – so, no I don’t think you’d have saved money…but you know that.. right? right.. it’s just two different things to collect 🙂 Good thing that they don’t spoil, they sit there politely and don’t ask for anything, and are ready to be played with anytime we want (now isn’t that just about perfect? !)

  32. The spindles are beautiful. I kind of wish I hadn;t given mine away now…

    Meanwhile, when do you find the time to use ALL of those spindles?!

  33. First off .. WOO HOO! Secondly, it’s so fun to see others trial and errors before I jump in (probably sometime next year) to start spinning. It’s going to happen .. especially if you keep writing such amazing posts to tempt me into spinning.

  34. Yay!!
    They are just so pretty and there is something so basic about spindle spinning that I really love. Now don’t get me wrong, if my cookie jar had enough pennies in it, I’d be placing an order for my first wheel right away! Perhaps if I stopped buying pretty drop spindles I’d be able to save up enough for a wheel. . .

  35. M’s stone whorl spindles are adjustable – you can slide the whorl up or down the shaft to suit the spinning. Also, useful for bottom whorl (ask Judy/smattering).

  36. I love Steve’s also. He is wonderful. The stone spindles from Cathy are simply exquisite, and very special. Forrester spindles are wonderful tools: pretty, and spin forever, as advertised.

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