IS #73: Spindle-Spun

It felt good to confess my stalking of spindles to you all last week. Some of you affirmed my spindle infatuation with stories of your own collections, others expressed wonderment and curiosity about all the different types you’ve never thought of before. It made me feel a little less ridiculous for my spindle coveting… just in time for this beauty to arrive!


Our new friend.

This little lovely is a birdseye maple Russian spindle from TexasJeans. It is long (12″) and lightweight (0.9 oz, 27 g) and is a quick little spinner. I was surprised at how fast and short its spin was, and how much it differed from my heavier Tibetan. My fingers quickly got the hang of it, however, and I spent an enjoyable Friday night spinning up some silk from The Wacky Windmill and watching Once Upon A Time.


Mmmmmmm, silk.

The key to supported spindling (in my opinion) is spinning from carded rolags. Whatever fiber you’re working with, it will spin up much more smoothly and evenly if you card it first. This means your yarns will likely all be woolen or semi-woolen, depending on how you draft. Also keep in mind that I’m a newbie and generally winging it when it comes to spinning supported, so there could be better ways to do things. In light of that, for inspiration this week I decided to seek out gorgeous handspun yarns on Ravery that had been spun on supported spindles. Prepare to be amazed!

Photo copyright ArcticWoolies.

Photo copyright MaryBear.


Photo copyright LillyVoigt.

Photo copyright NotNotKnitting.

Photo copyright RoeOfPurls.

Ok, things I’ve learned from this exercise: spinners do a less-than-stellar job of documenting their spins on Ravelry! I checked every handspun page of every spinner in the Spindlemania group that I KNOW has some gorgeous support spindles… and nada. Nothing. No projects on the support spindles and barely any handspun posted at all! So I just ganked most of these photos from the Thick Or Thin Challenge thread in the Spindle Candy group. I was hoping to show off some finished yarns but these are cool, too!

What’s been inspiring you lately? Share with us or link you own blog post in the comments!



10 thoughts on “IS #73: Spindle-Spun

  1. They are all beautiful. I really want to learn how to do it. Just have to find a good place that will teach me. When you say they should be carded first is that something else you need to buy or does the fiber come already carded?


    • Fiber is usually sold as combed top, with the individual fibers all lined up. This is usually fine, but I find it much easier to spin on supported spindles when the fober preparation is airy and loose. Fiber is sometimes sold as carded roving, where the fibers are all willy-nilly and air gets trapped in your yarn, which would work well. I used my hand cards to turn silk top into fluffy, willy-nilly rolags. Here’s an example of how to card: Carders cost around $60+ for a pair. You could also approximate the effect by taking a chunk of combed top, fluffing it with your fingers, folding it in half, and spinning from the fold. This will introduce air and jumble up your fibers without carding.


  2. Gorgeous spindles. And I agree, spinning on Ravelry can be a challenge in terms of figuring out how projects and things are captured. I know that during the last Tour de Fleece Casey was fantastic about working with people to try and come up with improvements to the system, but it’s still not a single flow that people can follow. I love my spindle, even when I get my wheel going, I think I’ll still use my spindle.


  3. I am curious, how do you spin fiber on a spindle that doesn’t have a hook to hold the fiber? I’ve only spun with top whorl spindles at this point.

    I had seen a friend spying with a Turkish spindle use some sort of slip knot to hold the yarn in place. Is that how it works?


    • For Turks or bottom whorls you use a half hitch knot like your friend did. For support spindles, you don’t attach the yarn in any way because the spindle isn’t suspended. You just spiral up the shaft and hold the yarn at about a 45 degree angle to the tip. While it spins, the yarn flicks off the tip over and over, each time adding twist. Hard to describe, cool to watch!


  4. Talk about a gorgeous picture! I love the silk fibre and that Russian spindle! I was hesitant of trying a Russian spindle since I am so used to the long spin of a Tibetan but I may have to break down eventually to add at least one to the stash :P. I agree that rolags make learning to spin on a supported spindle so much easier! The first time I used combed top and I was so frustrated spinning with it.

    I often try to stalk pages with beautiful handspun being done on spindles and it is heartbreaking when there is no information on the project page! Because I assume not everyone does long draw on support spindles and it would be cool to see how they made their handspun.


  5. Pingback: Spinning Silk Supported | Woolen Diversions

  6. Pingback: Too Busy For Inspiration | Woolen Diversions


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