Her Handspun Habit: Soothe Stress with Supported Spindle Spinning

There’s no better time than the busy holiday season to begin a daily supported spindle spinning practice. I discovered this myself just two weeks ago, when I joined an online spinalong group dedicated to support spindles,. The theme of this spinalong, which lasted through the month of November, was gratitude.

I make no secret about my love of spindle spinning. (You can read about how I started my entire spinning journey by using a single borrowed spindle for more than a year.) Although I spin using my top whorls regularly, it had been a while since I’d spun supported, as somewhere along the line I’d decided that I prefer spinning suspended on what many spinners refer to as “drop spindles.”

Despite other in-progress spinning and work projects, I selected a few treasured supported spindles—two Phangs and two wand or Russian-style, and a sample batt from Liz Porter of Hobbledehoy Yarn and Fiber. (Because I treasure every moment spent spinning little batts or “battlings,” I always spin them using spindles.) Then I committed to a few moments of supported spinning each morning.

It was easy to ponder my many gratitudes as I spun that first morning. By day two I was hooked, and I soon found that I awakened each day looking forward to this reflective morning practice. It became a meditation. More important, throughout these days of supported spindle spinning, I experienced an improved mood and overall sense of well-being, calm, and centeredness.

I felt invigorated.

Supported spindle spinning

I plied my singles using my favorite Bosworth top-whorl spindle.

Yes, I also find that spinning with my top whorls (and of course, my spinning wheels) brings me a sense of joy and groundedness, but this was different. I credit the stress-busting from supported spinning to these three factors.

1. You stay seated while spinning with supported spindles.

We practice relaxation exercises and classic meditation while seated. The physical comfort allows us to focus on our breathing without being so relaxed that we slip off to sleep. There is that perfect “in-between” state of consciousness those who meditate eventually learn to reach, and it’s attainable by spinners, too.

2. The spinner’s eye becomes transfixed on the whirling motion of the supported spindle itself, and the hands find the meditative rhythm of the repetitive flicking of the spindle tip and the winding-on of the new yarn.

Do you remember movies in which a magician hypnotizes an audience member with a swinging pocket watch? You can attain some of the therapeutic benefits of self-hypnosis by concentrating on using a supported spindle.

3. Thanks to the deep concentration afforded by #1 and #2, it’s easy to focus on a mantra or state of mind while spinning supported.

(Try it; it works!)

All of this may sound a little “ woo-woo,” but all I can say is that my recent morning practice of supported spindle spinning brought me to an easy state of meditation—something I’ve never been able to say before now. In fact, it’s been such a game-changer for me that when I finished spinning my batt, I moved along to some cotton sliver and another treasured supported spindle.

Supported spindle spinning

Want to see the results of my Gratitude spin? I ended up spinning 216 yards of 2-ply yarn from 1.3 oz of fiber, which I plan on using for a special tapestry weaving.

If, like me, you’re a spinner looking to reduce your stress, I’d urge you to give supported spindling a try!

—Debbie

Read about Kate Larson’s cotton spinning mindfulness practice, learn how to spin cotton on a tahkli supported spindle from Joan Ruane, and find some everyday spinning Zen.


Find peace with supported spindle spinning

 

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