Friday, March 7, 2014

Spin, Spider, Spin: Experiments With Whorls, Spindles and Yarn

A spindle experiment with double whorl
Handmade spindles and glass whorls- sometimes it seems things just happen and sometimes you have to make them happen! This little tale is a combination of those two things.
Mmm... pink!
In the beginning of January, I went to the Black Sheep Spinners Guild ROC Day
 celebration. Spinning is such a big deal around here, and it's something I've always wanted to learn more about. While I was there I met a wonderful woman who showed me how to use a drop spindle (OK, it's gonna take a lot of practice to get it right!).

Masked style pattern
One thing led to another and before I left I found out that she was in search of a glass bead maker who could make her some rather large beads in particular shapes to use as whorls with her handmade Viking-style spindles. We had a short chat, I got down some basics, and we agreed to stay in touch.

I really like the design on this one!
I went home thinking- make big beads, make big beads. We met again a couple of weeks later for show and tell- she with spindles, I with some rudimentary whorls. These are smaller than a standard whorl and would be used to make light or lace weight yarns.

Love this shape!
Well, one thing led to another. I made myself a fun little drop spindle with a dowel, a wooden wheel and (of course) a glass bead for a little extra weight and got to practicing. What I do is called 'park and draft', which means I spin the spindle, stop and make the yarn over and over. It's how all the kiddies start out!

We met again, I made more whorls and started looking at all the fun shapes and styles that were traditionally used. And then we went to the monthly spinners guild meeting with our new spindles and whorls. Folks loved them! We're still working on a little bit of standardization and in the meantime, I'm having a lot of fun testing out different designs I might be able to offer.
Drying my first yarn

Stay tuned for- hopefully- some spindles and whorls for sale in my etsy shop soon!

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