Handspindle Treasury available digitally


Liz demonstrates spinning unsuccessfully at the Estes Park Wool Market in 2004.

Ed Franquemont skillfully demonstrates Andean spinning in his 1983 article.

Sarah Natani deftly demonstrates Navajo spinning in Donna Muller's 1995 article.

On the shoulders of giants

When I learned to spin it was, as it is with most spinners, on a spindle. I had learned to knit and was eager to learn everything I could about fluff. Out of general fiber curiosity, I signed up for a two-session class on spinning at my local yarn store. The first class focused on spindles and the second on wheels. I showed up for my spindle class and got started. It wasn't the easiest thing, but I got the hang of it and was happily spinning away by the end of class. We got a lovely bag full of fiber to spin, and I took this home and kept practicing. The next week when it was time for my wheel class there was a blizzard, and I decided it was a sign to focus on a spindle for a while.

Spindle spinning wasn't really something that called to me in my free moments, but I would pick it up from time to time and chip away at my bag full of fiber. A year later, when I was an intern for Spin-Off, I gleefully signed up to help out at the Interweave booth at the Estes Park Wool Market. I was doing my best to demonstrate spinning when an experience spinner let me know I was doing it all wrong. I can't even imagine what I was doing, but how she showed me to draft on the spindle made every part of the process so much easier.

I realize now how much easier my transition into spinning would have been if I had had resources to really understand what I was doing. Now that I am more knowledgeable about spinning and have my own wheel (and a small arsenal of spindles) I have a better idea of where to find the information I need. One great resource specifically about spindles is A Handspindle Treasury. Originally published by Interweave in 2000, A Handspindle Treasury is a compilation of articles that had been published over the years in Spin-Off (including many from the Spring 1995 "spindle issue"). The book has been out of print for a number of years, and recently we've started receiving requests from readers to reprint it. To make the new eBook edition, we divided the content into two books and divided the articles into two main subjects. We placed the articles that focus on how to spin on a handspindle in A Handspindle Treasury: Spindle Spinning and the articles about spinning traditions in A Handspindle Treasury: Spinning Around the World.

As a new spinner, I'm pleased to find so many great spinners from the early pages of Spin-Off all in one place, and I really enjoyed reading Ed Franquemont's article on Andean spinning from the Spring 1985 issue of Spin-Off that includes the now ubiquitous quote that spindle spinning is "slower by the hour, but faster by the week." I also love how the articles about spinning traditions around the world include information that I can directly apply to my spinning. This book is really an amazing collection of information, and I hope it helps you perfect your spindle spinning as it has for me.

Spin on,

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