New to drop spindle spinning

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on Oct 30, 2012 9:39 AM

I have used a drop spindle once twice in the past but only for a few brief minutes.  I need advice on purchasing a drop spindle.  I have problems keeping my left arm raised to hold a drop spindle having had lymph nodes removed after breast cancer and some nerve damage.  I also have swelling in the joints of my right thumb.  To help with both these aggravating issues I thought it would be best to purchase a very lightweight drop spindle that could be supported.  Being an absolute novice on this, having only seen illustrations on women spinning with the drop spindle in a bowl, I wondered if something like this would work for me.  Advice would be appreciated.  I also thought that learning to spin on a drop spindle would give me some practice for spinning on a great wheel I just purchased.  I've been spinning on a traditional wheel for over 20 years but I do remember the hardest part of learning was getting the feet and hands coordinated.  The Great Wheel has a similar function to the spindle in that you set the spindle in motion and use your hands to control the twist of the fiber before feeding it onto the spindle.  I would appreciate any advice.  Thank you, Pat in Ohio

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lianita24 wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 12:22 PM

I think you must buy a kick spindle- to kick it by foot. You can buy them on $ 90

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BGMeyer wrote
on Dec 5, 2012 8:33 AM

I understand your desire to spin on a drop spindle to teach you to spin on a great wheel, but maybe it  would be easier to just go direct to the great wheel. Try using cheap yarn to pretend to spin. This will get you used to the motion of spinning on the wheel without having to actually use wool to make yarn. I did this to learn to spin on my spinning wheel. Because I didn't have to worry about the wool itself, I could concentrate on the hand movements and getting hands and feet coordinated.


Alternatively,  work with your hand spindle between your FEET not your knees. Spin up a lot of twist, park it between your feet, and pull out the twist without having to raise your arm up so much.

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on Dec 8, 2012 9:24 PM

The spindle in the bowl is usually a type of supported spindle.  Often a stick with a tapered in to allow the twist to move into the fiber.  Personally I haven't tried supported spindles, but there are a variety of types including the kick spindle one of the replies suggested.  A Navajo spindle is another type often rolled against the thigh to gain the twist or if the bowl one interests you check out Russian spindles or Takli.

One the topic of lightweight drop spindles you are still holding you arm up and sometimes it seems to take longer to get the twist to go up than a heavier one in my opinion.  You could use a drop spindle and keep your arms at your side rather than lift them above ( I often do it when waiting for classes to start and it would be awkward to lift my arms.)  The downside to the lighter spindles, is you cannot get a heavy yarn.  You will always get lace or sport weight depending of the spindles weight.  You'll get really good at lace singles, but the wheel made not work for lace and the transition from lace to not lace is hard and often leads to a lot of broken yarns.


Spin2Weave youtube videos shows off a few different types of spindles. Here is a link to one of her support spindle videos: 

Another thing you can do, since you already have the wheel is buy some cheap-ish wool in bulky and just practice.

Good luck on whatever choice you make.  I hope you enjoy your wheel.

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