On a lighter note: Spinning Forward

I’ve been contemplating how much fun it would be to have a spinning wheel at our house. To be completely honest, my fascination with spinning wheels started when I was a little girl and I read about Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold. I wondered if it could really be done. Obviously it can’t, but just as magical is watching roving being spun into gorgeous yarn.

While at the DFW Fiber Fest, I was able to see spinning in person. It really is something else. The women (I’m sure there are men spinners out there, but while I was at the festival, there were only women) made the process look absolutely effortless and graceful. I struggle to keep my roving from getting tangled up on my drop spindle. I don’t know how they do it!

I guess what I’m pondering right now is this: At what point do you move from a drop spindle to trying a spinning wheel? It’s a fairly big money commitment, so I need to be sure I’m ready and wanting to move forward with this.

That brings me to my next question: Where does one buy a spinning wheel? Also, how do you know if you’ve found a good wheel? I don’t know the first thing about these devices. What’s the average cost of one?

Oh, dear. I’m afraid I’m just bursting with questions at this point. I’m sticking with my spindle for now, but I’m so very curious about the wheels. Any advice/information anyone can send my way is immensely appreciated.

Have a great weekend!

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4 thoughts on “On a lighter note: Spinning Forward

  1. Oooh request for spinning advice! Your request is better than the chocolate I have been consuming to get through a homeschooling teenage meltdown morning. Spring is a great time to be looking into a wheel. You already mentioned attending a fiber fest. Check to see if there are more in your area and try out some of the vendors wheels. Check for local weaving/spinning/knitting shops to see if any carry wheels. They will often have samples to try in-house.

    My favorite store is the Woolery located in KY, but they have a great website http://www.woolery.com which is how I do business with them. I learned a bunch about wheels from their site and also doing an internet search or two. A great book on spinning is Alden Amos’ Big Book of Handspinning, and I couldn’t survive without Spin-off magazine from Interweave Press.

    You can often find used wheels, but before buying one, find out where you can buy a new one. You can usually find out what comes with a new wheel, the price, etc. Sometimes used doesn’t save you much in the end.

    Finally the best advice I was given about spinning with a wheel (which is how I learned because the drop spindle and I are still acquaintances and not friends) was to practice for a while each day by peddling without fiber involved. Learn the rhythm and feel of your wheel. Get comfortable, become friends. Then start making fabulous novelty yarn. Since you are already a knitter, you know that thick yarn knits up faster than thin, so be patient and enjoy making thick for awhile.

    Word of warning – you think that lovely roving you have been trying is addictive now with a drop spindle, just wait until you have a wheel.

    Good luck and thanks for asking for advice, it was much more effective than the chocolate. πŸ™‚

  2. I am at the same juncture as you although I’ve decided I will get a spinning wheel. Now I have to decide which one! Getting lots of ideas, suggestions from fellow knitters/spinners/bloggers. So far, I’m leaning toward the Schacht Ladybug. I’m more on the modern side. We’ll see what unfolds!

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