Spindle Spinning by Maggie Casey

Several years ago at Spin-Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR), a friend and I took Rita Buchanan’s drop spindle retreat session. During the class we challenged each other to make something out of our spindle-spun yarn. My favorite mittens are the result of that challenge. Rita’s retreat and those mittens renewed my love affair with handspindles, and here are some tips to make you fall in love, too.

Your first spindle should weigh 2 to 3 ounces (or 56 to 84 grams). Many beautiful lighter-weight spindles are available, but wait before you try one because a mediumweight or heavier spindle will keep turning while you learn to draft out the fibers. Don’t choose one that is too heavy, however, or you will learn why they are called drop spindles. A well-balanced spindle is a delight, so check to see how well yours spins—tie on some yarn and give it a twist. The spindle should turn smoothly without a lot of wobble and continue to spin for some time.

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