Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Learning to Spin.

          Recently I've gotten it into my head to learn to spin my own yarn and I wanted to share with you some of the resources I've found useful.

          I started off by buying myself some pretty roving (What is roving?), and 2 drop spindles (learn about different types of drop spindles here). I bought one top whorl, and one bottom whorl  from Butterfly Girl Designs on Etsy. The whorl is the weighted part of the spindle that maintains the momentum of the spindle and the location of the whorl changes the technique of the spinning slightly. Some people find one way easier, while others strongly prefer the other. I don't know which way I prefer just yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. You can make your own spindle if you want to  or you can search around either locally or on the net for the perfect spindle for you!

^ There's my bottom whorl

^ And my top whorl

              I haven't gotten the top whorl in the mail yet, but it's been shipped! I can't wait to try it. It's very pretty and supposedly top whorl spindles are easier to use than bottom whorl. We shall see.

I've been spending quite a bit of time browsing the net looking for tutorials and information on how to spin with a drop spindle. I don't want to mess up all that pretty fiber I bought! So let me present you with the fruits of my labor ( Searching labor, that is. These aren't my videos) :

The following videos, IMO were the most helpful ones on youtube:

Introduction to Spindles: I thought this video was very interesting. Video by Spin2Weave

          Top Whorl: In this video, she teaches you all the basic elements of spinning and does an excellent job of demonstrating and explaining the processes needed to spin successfully. This is definitely my first go to video, even though atm I only have a bottom whorl spindle. Videos by afranquemont

          Bottom Whorl: After a bit of frustration, I found this gentleman's videos. See, tutorials on low whorl, or bottom whorl spindles are not as easy to find. There are a couple of other videos out there, but they were kind of blurry and hard to see what was going on. This man's videos ended up being my favorites. Videos by brewergnome

          Plying a single yarn: I have not gotten this far in my spinning yet, but as I've said, I've been doing all the research so that I can be fairly well informed when I am ready to try. Videos by theartofmegan


Ply two single yarns on a drop:

And using a Turkish spindle: I haven't used a Turkish spindle yet, but  the more I see them in action, the more I fall in love with them. Video by headhugsnh

          Actually, after the research I did on the Turkish spindles, I ended up finding exactly the one I wanted here.  Should be here in a week or two, I can't wait! I bought the one in cherry wood:
          In my search for useful videos, I came across this one beginner spinner tutorial where the woman was using a sort of bracelet like fiber cozy. She didn't have any links to the pattern (it was from interweave press, if anyone knows how to find it), and said she would get the information, but I never saw it anywhere in her information. That's ok. She explained the structure of it, and now I will write my own pattern for it and share with everyone when I am done, but hers was a knitted object, and I think I may crochet mine. We'll see :D Video by kelleypetkun

Some other resources I've found :
Spinning Glossary :  A site listing many of the terms used for spinning both on the wheel and off. Actually, this site is  also a good resource for fiber prep, learning to spin, and dyeing. Check out the tutorials section for more information.
Golding Fiber Tools :  This site has some high quality (albeit high priced) spindles and spinning wheels for sale. The craftsmanship on these items is simply stunning!
Grizzly Mountain Arts : Here is another example of amazing craftsmanship and excellent quality.
I Can Spin : Has a bunch of tutorial videos on many of the spinning techniques. It's a very straightforward and useful site.
And of course Etsy, and ebay are also your friends when it comes to any materials you may need - They have anything from fibers to spindles or even a place to sell your completed handmade items.
 Also, don't forget to check out your local craft stores and yarns shops. Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics and Michael's all have supplies that you may find useful.


         I hope you've found this blog useful. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I've made a mistake somewhere. I had originally started this post with an intent to talk about the Kindle Cover project I am in the middle of, but since this is such a long post, I will wait for another day. I still needed to get the pictures and finish that project anyways. So please keep your eyes open for that coming soon :D
And in closing, let me leave you with a bit of advice from some friends : "Just have fun with it. Know that when you first start, you will make mistakes. Accept that, and utilize that opportunity to learn. If you can follow those two important rules, you will be spinning in no time."


  1. Wow! You put a lot of time and effort into researching this whole spinning thing. THANK YOU for sharing. I have the inclination to learn, but I'm a little nervous about adding to what has already become an addictive hobby:) I love that you put everything here in one place! You are definitely responsible for pushing me more towards learning how to spin:) Thank you:)

  2. Wow, what a great summary post - I will be coming back to this one again and again, so thanks for all the time you put in on this one.

    Also, that bottom whorl spindle is really pretty.

  3. @atangledyarn

    This comment made me feel so good! I was excited to find that the reseach I'd done had actually inspired someone else to want to spin. If you do get into it, I'd love to see your FOs!

    I don't blame you for being nervous about getting another addiction! I'm finding myself getting locked in a spindle and fiber addiction and my bank account is getting annoyed with me, lol!

  4. @Saffy

    I'm so glad you found this helpful!! It was definitely worth the research effort, knowing that I've helped make it easier for a few others. And I've been utilizing it as well.

    I do love my bottom whorl spindle, it's beautiful, but my top whorl feels so much better in my hands. It was my favorite until I got that Turkish in the mail today... Oh... my.. gosh!! I'm in love, lol.