In Murder Spins a Tale and coming up in Murder Comes Unraveled, Martha discusses spindle spinning with both her students and customers. Many spinners start spinning with a spindle. Others start with a wheel and than add a spindle when they decide they want something more portable. Either way, I know that some people have problems believing that you can actually spin enough on a spindle to turn your yarn into something useful. The answer is yes you can.
A number of years ago, I decided that I wanted to create a memory shawl for me. The yarn was to be spun from a single of a wool blend and a single of dog hair. The dog hair came from every dog I've owned since I was an adult plus four dogs that belonged to my friend, Judy Gustafson. (You can see the adventures of Judy and her dogs on her blog Ravenwood Farm Tails.) The dog breeds included Great Pyrenees, Samoyed, Caucasian Ovcharka, Maremma, and a small amount of hair from my current short haired mixed breeds.
I decided to spin the yarn using a spindle because I consistently spin a finer yarn with a spindle than I do with my wheel, and I wanted a lace weight yarn. It took me a number of years to finish this project because I often got sidetracked with other things to do, but this last winter, it was finally done.
When deciding on a spindle to use for my project, I decided on two. Both of these are Pele's Hair spindles which were turned by my husband, Glenn. The larger heavier spindle was used for the wool blend. The smaller one was used for the dog hair.
When I'm spinning for a large product using a spindle, I have to have a way to store the singles and to splice the production from the spindle to get the length of yarn that I need. I do this by using a toilet paper tube. I wind the yarn from the spindle onto the toilet paper tube. Then when I need to add another spindle full of yarn, I splice the ends from the spindle and the toilet paper tube, and continue winding the yarn onto the toilet paper tube.
Here is a picture of a full toilet paper tube and of the yarn that I used to make my shawl.
The lace pattern that I decided on for my shawl was Candlelight. The shawl is four pattern repeats wide and about six feet long.
Here is the shawl blocked out on the floor in the loft of my studio house.
Here is a close up of the pattern with a darker background so it is more easily seen.
And here are two pictures of me wearing the shawl.
Spindle spinning is an old craft. Many peoples have been using only spindles for their yarn production for thousands of years. Even today a spindle is the primary tool for some people to make beautiful yarn. If you've ever thought that you might like to learn to spin, I highly recommend the spindle. Spindles are available all over the internet and You Tube has many introductory lessons on using it. Give is a whirl.