In celebration of National Spinning and Weaving week, we’re highlighting four different WEBS staff members and their spinning or weaving tool of choice. Here, Ashley tells us why she loves spinning on her drop spindle.
Drop spindle spinning is one of my favorite ways to explore new fibers and feed my yarn making addiction. With a handy “yarn-tainer” to hold my fiber of choice and keep my spindle safe, I can bring my latest spinning project with me wherever I go. This keeps me from boredom in long lines and and lets me engage people who see me spinning and have no idea what I’m doing, often stopping to ask. Public spinning is certainly a wonderful conversation starter!
There are so many different kinds of spindles, each developed in different regions of the world and adapted for spinning whichever fiber was available in that particular climate. Most ancient of crafts, spindle spinning clothed our ancestors going back almost 20,000 years. I really enjoy that sense of ancient continuity, touching the fibers and turning the spindle in the same way that men and women have done for untold generations.
For brand new spinners, a large whorl drop spindle will have a nice long spin time, and the capacity to hold thicker yarns as well as thin ones. It will also make a great plying spindle long after one has graduated to the smaller whorl spindles for making laceweight yarns. Spindling allows the spinner to take the process at their own personal pace, which can ease the learning process and offers the yarn “more intention per inch” increasing the evenness over time.
The great beauty and variety of spindles available encourages the spinner to try many different styles and sizes and experience the different drafting and spinning techniques they offer, and a glimpse into the cultural history of the area the spindle originated from. Drop spindle spinning is a wonderful way to make your production infinitely portable, to connect us along the thread of time and allow our fingers to explore luscious fibers without limits!
Come see Ashley demonstrate Spinning Exotic Fibers on Monday, October 1 at WEBS!