Spindle Bowl Saga

I am having a bit of a Goldilocks issue regarding my supported spinning bowls. I can’t seem to find one that’s quite right for my needs and it’s getting pretty frustrating. Here’s my current collection:

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Supported spinning bowls.

  1. Spanish Peacock stalked bowl with maple shaft and cocobolo bowl.
  2. hipstrings glass bowl for spinning with a cotton tahkli.
  3. Mingo & Asho bowl in a few different woods, including purpleheart.
  4. Asymmetrical pottery bowl I picked up at a random boutique somewhere.

The first bowl I owned was the asymmetrical pottery dish that I just happened to have around and decided to use for spinning. The asymmetrical shape actually works pretty well for the way that I spin (the edges don’t get in the way of the spindle) and it fits pretty well in my lap, whether I sit cross-legged or with my legs straight out in front of me. But it’s not great if I’m sitting in an upright chair, because then the bowl feels like it will slide off my lap.

My main concern, though, is that on some of my lighter wood spindles I think I see some dark marks on the tip, and I wonder if the pitted surface of the bowl interferes with the spin or if it could maybe even damage the spindle tips over time.

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Pitted surface.

The second bowl I acquired was the glass bowl from hipstrings, but I don’t like using it with any spindle except the cotton tahkli. The sides are too high and vertical (they interfere with  wider spindles) and I don’t like the noise my wooden and glass-tipped spindles make against the glass bowl. While much smaller than the pottery bowl, it does still fit in my lap fairly well.

After I got my new glasspin spindle for my birthday, I decided to try a Mingo & Asho spindle bowl, as well, and thought that a wooden bowl would be better for the pretty glass tip. While the bowl is beautiful and my spindles spin well on it, it is MUCH smaller than I anticipated and the shape is just not ideal for lap spinning. It would be great on a tabletop or if I were sitting on a hard chair and could place it on a flat surface between my legs, but spinning on the couch with it really doesn’t work. I can sort of grip the wide base between my thighs if my legs are straight out in front of me, but it’s quite unstable and uncomfortable.

So then I waited and waited and waited, and eventually the Spanish Peacock updated their shop with the stalked bowls I’d had my eye on. I was excited because I thought I had finally found my perfect bowl. The wood was lovely, the size of the bowl was smaller than the pottery but larger than the Mingo & Asho, and the stalk was the perfect high to fit in my lap with my legs straight out in front of me. It obviously doesn’t work if I’m seated cross-legged, but with the pregnancy-induced blood clot in my leg I should not sit that way anyway. So I think the stalked shape would be ideal for both couch-spinning and upright chair-spinning.

There is, however, one fatal flaw: there is a dimple in the middle of the bowl that is extremely small. In fact, it is too small for my glasspin spindle tip to fit in it properly, which makes it spin like molasses. I’m talking the spindle makes 3 rotations and then slows to a sad-trombone-stop. Womp, womp, womp.

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Too-small dimple of doom.

Why oh why oh why did there have to be a dimple there?!?! It effectively diminishes the size of the bowl to that tiny area. My other spindles spin ok in it because they have sharper tips, but I still don’t love the dimple because I have a lot of spindle wobble when I draft, so the dimple interferes with the side-to-side movement and slows down my spin. I haven’t yet looked into the shop’s return policies or made a decision about what to do here, but I am pretty frustrated. Enough to try something like this:

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That hybrid setup was surprisingly stable to spin on, but unfortunately it’s just a couple inches too high to be comfortable for my arm position.

So there you have it, my whole spindle bowl saga. Do you have a favorite support spindle bowl? What are the qualities you look for in one?

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More Pretty Things

The stash-enhancement around these parts continues due to holiday/birthday funds, so I figured I’d share the goodies!

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More lovelies from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

I couldn’t resist adding another skein of BMFA Tigger Targhee to my stash, so I grabbed one in the most icy blue ever (Let It Go… Let It Go). I also acquired another skein of Yaksi (a heavenly DK weight blend of 60% wool/ 20% yak/ 20% silk) in Shoqua (in case I run out of yarn on my Yaksi Cancan shawl) and one skein in Tanzanite (because it’s pretty and I want a purple hat).

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My happy mailbox visitor.

My mailbox made me smile for other reasons last week, too. I received a funny card and lovely little holiday sloth from Audry to cheer me up after the rough few weeks I’d been having. The kindness and generosity of knitters and internet friends never cease to amaze me. It makes me simultaneously happy that I get to know so many wonderful people virtually, and sad that we can’t easily hang out in ‘real life’. Perhaps someday. The wee sloth now keeps me company in my office. 🙂

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New birthday spindle!

Finally, the Fiasco humored me with a new spindle for my birthday present. I’ve been eyeing up Meilindis’ beautiful spinning and admiring the lovely Mingo and Asho glasspin support spindle she’s been featuring in her blog posts. Glass-tipped spindles (or glindles) have been notoriously popular and hard to get a hold of from Bristlecone (whom I think were the original makers) so I was very happy to see other artists begin making their own versions.

I especially love the pyrography featured on the spindles. The trees, birds, and sunrise cattail landscape are so delicate and detailed, it’s truly beautiful. This spindle is 11 inches long and weighs 1.75 ounces, and the shaft is birdseye maple with bubinga and mahogany accents.

I’m super duper in love with it. I’ve also come to the amusing conclusion that I think part of the reason I love support spindles so much is that they feel an awful lot like owning a collection of magic wands. I AM A WIZARD.

Ok, we’re done here.