Beginner Spinner Must-Haves!

“I really want to learn to spin,” is a phrase my family has heard me utter more times than I’m sure they care to count. The response I usually receive back is “when are you going to have time to do that?”

I’ll admit their response was a good one. I already knit, crochet, sew, and quilt, but still, something about holding raw, unspun fiber in my hands calls to me. I want to feel it run through my fingers, watch it twist and become a yarn I can use to make beautiful things. I romanticize the idea of working farm to needle and I know I’m not alone in this. Am I right?

Tired of hearing my whining—er, begging—my wish was granted. I was gifted a beautiful drop spindle for Christmas (seen in the photo above) and that was followed by my best friend surprising me with a spinning wheel for my birthday. (Yes, I know I’m spoiled.)

Like so many of the other crafts I practice, spinning will likely be a self-taught one. As I awkwardly toddle my way through learning, there are a few resources I’ve discovered no beginner spinner should be without. Whether you’re new to spinning like me or you want to share a love of handspinning with someone who wants to learn, here’s what you need to get started.


Respect the Spindle

beginner spinner

Abby Franquemont’s Respect the Spindle is a must-have beginner spinner resource.

It was Abby Franquemont’s book, Respect the Spindle that I first turned to after Christmas when I was gifted a drop spindle. I loved reading the brief history of handspinning before digging into understanding the different types of spindles. My spindle is a high-whirl suspended (aka drop) spindle. And I can’t tell you how proud I am that I’m using actual spinning terms to describe my spindle!

I also love and appreciate the detailed step-by-step photos that show every aspect of spinning with various types of spindles. I was so excited reading the eBook that I had it open in the background and was practicing my spinning while in a rather dull meeting. Shhh… don’t tell my boss.

The Spinning Teacher Workshop

beginner spinner

Watch and learn as instructor Maggie Casey teaches weaving editor Susan Horton how to spin.

You can’t get much better when it comes to world-class spinning instructors than Maggie Casey. I’m over the moon for her new online workshop, The Spinning Teacher with Maggie Casey. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Maggie in person at Yarn Fest. She’s just as kind and gentle in person as she appears in this workshop. It’s that patience that makes learning to spin feel possible.

Another thing I appreciate about this course is seeing someone else learning to spin. Rather than simply watching an instructor, watching a fellow newbie and having her ask the same questions I have is fantastic.


beginner spinner

You can’t spin without beautiful fiber and this blending pack is perfect for beginners.

No must-have list would be complete without fiber! As I mentioned, one of the things that called me to spinning was imagining beautiful fibers running through my fingers. As a beginner spinner, I’m overwhelmed by the options and I have no idea what I should order. This beautiful kit of Corriedale fiber is a wonderful starting point. I love having a small taste of colors that I can use to practice blending and creating different shades and tints. Though, to start, I’m spinning the natural white.

With something to read, watch, and use, I’m enjoying my adventures as a beginner spinner. I keep my spindle on my desk to twist a yard or two when quiet moments allow. Soon I’ll have the courage to dive into using my wheel. If you’re an experienced spinner, what resource did you find most helpful with learning to spin? If you’re new, like me, I ask you the same question! I’ll be waiting to read your advice in the comments below.

—Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books

Start handspinning today with this must-have resources!

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