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#100daysofspindlespinning – Day 93

I’ve been participating in #100daysofspindlespinning over on the Instagram world. It’s a friendly challenge – inspired by the much beloved knitwear designer and spindle spinner Andrea Mowry of Drearenee Knits. Essentially, you join in by trying to spin a minimum of 15 minutes a day, on spindles. It has since widened to include all spinning at large. The event began December 1 and will go until March 10. Some started sooner and others started after the fact, but all are welcome.

So far I have spun on my spindles, every day for a minimum of 15 minutes, even before the challenge started. I’ve incorporated support spindle spinning into my morning intentions/meditations and evening reflections and gratitudes. I ease my way in and out of the day with a beautifully made spindle in one hand, wonderfully prepared fibre in the other, and the action of making yarn uniting.

My goal over the 100 days of spindle spinning was to spin on my favourite spindles so I could possibly see a pattern. In working with each spindle, I strove to fill it to capacity. How large a cop could I get? Could I keep it stable?

I have a large collection of spindles. I say I need such a large collection because I teach spindle spinning, and it’s necessary to have a good class set. But it’s also because I bought support spindles with reckless abandon, focusing initially on the beauty of the object. I wasn’t yet attuned to functionality, apart from “is it balanced?” Over time, and as my skills grew, there were spindle styles that I reached for over and over again. I wanted to explore this further and 100 days of spindle spinning would be a good time to set myself a question (or two). What are my preferred spindle styles and why?

Here are some photos of what I’ve done so far and some things I have noticed:

Having a stable and firm cop is key to being able to fill a spindle to capacity.

I started to notice how much of the shaft I left for flicking and temporary cops.

I rewarded myself by buying two new spindles from Carry Cherry. The removable shaft/whorl set-up appealed to me, as did the beauty of the woods.

I was reminded how much I love the wee luxury of a wool/silk blend.

So far, the tibetan style spindle is winning out – I like a spindle with an even shaft, a narrow flick area, and a good sized shelf to build my cop against. Support spindles with those features are winners in my spinning style.

Stay tuned.


Sweet Georgia Advent 2022 – Days 1 – 3

Below are some photos of the first three days of fibre from the Sweet Georgia Advent 2022. Each packet featured fibre from different breeds, (some dyed) probably a total of 10 different breeds. In addition to different colours, the variety of breeds allowed for some learning along the way. My original plan was to open each fibre packet, choose a spindle from my fleet, and spin it up that very day.

The photo below is day 1 and the spindle I chose is a TDF (Tour De Fleece) Mirkwood that I bought from a fellow guild member and support spindle enabler. It has a ball bearing tip, a gem stone at the end of the flicking tip, gem stones all around the whorl that sparkle as it spins, and it’s heavy. And, I love it.

The spindle on the right in the photo below is day two spun up on The Spindle Shop Dyavol style spindle. After a day of spinning with the Mirkwood, I was able to feel the difference that a heavy spindle makes, particularly when the fibre is on the medium/coarse side of things. The extra weight helps to get that twist into the fibres and keeps the momentum going. The Dyavol still performed well – spinning fast and long, with a long shaft for easy cop building and temporary cop storage.

I got to day three which was white Corriedale and decided it needed to add SOMETHING to it. White Corriedale is lovely, but so very, can we say it – plain. I added some silk/camel to it and made a smooth luxurious blend with it on my blending board.

For these rolags I chose my Allen Berry  Acorn and Oak spindle. This spindle is a beauty and brings me great joy when I spin with it. It too is on the heavy side, and despite the weight, it spins effortlessly and long.

And the final photo shoot of days 1 – 3. More to come.

Showing the fleet of spindles

Last Monday I had the pleasure of presenting some of my spindle collection to the Textiles students at Capilano University. I call the presentation “The Taxonomy of Spindles.”

In this presentation I show the different categories of spindles – suspended and supported, and talk about the differences within each larger category, such as top whorl, bottom whorl, cross-piece (AKA Turkish spindles).

It was fun to share my collection with eager students who know about fibre, spinning, and textile production.

After I did a bit of talk, I invited the students to gather around and try out some of the spindles. Nearly the entire class took me up on this offer. It was so delightful to support such interest in making yarn with a stick.

I know there are far more supported spindles than there are suspended spindles in this photo, but that’s where the fun and learning exist for me these days — figuring out the fibre preparation, fibres, and spinning techniques to get the yarn I want from support spindles.