Master Spinning and Plying on a Drop Spindle

I have long been resistant to the notion of learning how to spin. To my mind, it has always seemed like “one more thing.” Spinning would mean one more piece of equipment to take up floor space in my studio and one more stash to feed. So I resisted and joked and firmly told folks that I am most decidedly not a spinner, nor would I ever be. That is until I found out about our Craft University’s workshop, Master Spinning and Plying on a Drop Spindle.

drop spindle

Drop spindles intrigue me because they are so very compact and take up about as much space as a cone of yarn–and goodness knows I have nearly infinite room for more cones in my stash. In fact, they are so small it would be easy to take them with me when I travel or when I’m stuck waiting at the mechanic. I also think that learning a bit more about how yarn is made will help me with my weaving, similarly in the way that understanding the difference between Dutch process and natural cocoa powder can lead to better brownies.

This particular workshop appealed to me because while it requires a time commitment, it lets me choose the whens and wheres and how longs of each lesson. I can watch part of a video, pause it, walk the dogs, and then return. I can watch the videos before I start work in the morning or after dinner in the evening. “But Christina,” I hear you saying, “Isn’t that a video workshop?” Au contraire! I can see how you might think that, hypothetical reader, but as with in-person classes there is an actual teacher who is available to answer questions and help solve problems. There are also fellow classmates with whom I can interact as well as assignments that will be evaluated. (I love video workshops, but sadly technology is not at the point where the Tom Knisely on my television will stop weaving to tell me how I’m doing on my project or answer any questions.)

Given all this I figured it was time to finally give in and learn a bit about spinning. I have two drop spindles, generously lent to me by Spin-Off editor Anne Merrow, some bags of roving, and plenty of excitement. I’ve been playing around on the Craft University website and it is perfectly easy to use. As somebody who was lucky enough to attend college just when online classrooms were becoming popular, but were still rather terrible for both students and instructors, I was at first a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, Craft University and the online courses are easy to navigate and fairly intuitive to use. The videos play with a click and asking the instructor a question is similarly simple. It is a far cry from the electronic classrooms of old or at very least the late 2000s.

So if you’ve ever been intrigued by spinning on a spindle or otherwise, but don’t have the time or resources to take an in-person class, I encourage you to check out Craft University and join me in learning how to spin. As somebody with almost no spinning experience beyond a ten-minute lesson at this year’s Yarn Fest, I know I’m looking forward to learning a new fabulous fiber skill.

Happy Spinning!

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