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spindolyn Archives

April 20, 2007


What can I say, I'm a weak weak woman. With all the gorgeous luxury fibers I've been getting, and my poor results with them on both a drop spindle and the wheel, I thought it was time that I give into the siren call of the supported spindle.

I ordered myself a Spindolyn which I had first seen in action while shooting this episode of Knitty Gritty with the magnificent Shannon Okey. Of course, as soon as it came in, I wanted to play with it, but decided to be a good doobie and at least wait until my work day was over. The days are long enough that I had just enough time to snap some progress pics before the sun was completely gone for the day. Here is

Spindolyn nestled in a clump of flowers in my back yard


It's probably not a fair to make an assessment of the Spindolyn at this point since I've used for all of, maybe, 2 hours, but this in the internet and lack of authority on a subject has never stopped anyone from waxing unintelligibly before. What's to stop me now? Of course, when I have a new opinion in a few months, all of this will be moot, but here's a virgin's assessment of the Spindolyn.

Why I chose the Spindolyn

Firstly, for the price, it definitely seemed worth the risk. At $26, the Spindolyn is cheaper than many spindles of a similar size or smaller.


A couple full frontal shots.



There are several types of supported spindle on the market including the Navajo and Tahkli. Since both have long histories, I'm guessing they are excellent tools and well tested. However, the Navajo seemed a bit large and unwieldy and definitely lacked the sort of portability I'd hope for and the Tahkli seemed so small that you would only be able to work super fine lace weight in order to get any sort of yardage on the spindle. The Spindolyn seemed like a nice middle ground and a tool that would be easier to learn on since you could use both hands to draft.

Taking her for a spin

The movie on the Spindolyn homepage seemed fairly straight forward so I got right to spinning. At first, it seemed nearly impossible to get the spindle to spin for any length of time and since all the cuts in the demo movie were relatively short, I started to wonder if this is just the nature of the beast. With a bit more time, I was able to get a longer spin. Excessive predrafting helps a lot. After I got the hang of it, it seemed to go fairly well. I'm not dancing on the tree tops with delight at my progress, but do feel I'm getting the hang of it.


And my first little skein


Comparison to a drop spindle

In general, I don't feel I got as long or as effective a spin as I get on a drop spindle. This isn't necessarily a problem since you don't have that same risk of the fiber breaking from lack of twist, but it's definitely something I noticed. I love spindles and the processes, but not so much that I want it to take any longer than it has to. I'm about efficiency.

The shaft onto which you store your fresh spun is short compared to my drop spindles so if feels like I have to make a significantly smaller cop than I normally do. I was usually able to get close to 50 yards of 2 ply out of a single cop. With the Spindolyn, I think I'll have to settle for less.

In this same vein, being limited to the spinning the distance from my knees to as far as my arms can reach overhead, before having to wind the yarn on, also feels limited. I played with placing the Spindolyn between my feet which was awkward when just spinning close to the floor but does seem to give me more spinning time before winding on, which I like. I don't think this is a negative of the Spindolyn, more an issue with supported spindles in general.


Obviously, you knew there'd be a Panda shot too.

Benefits of the Spindolyn

I do love that the Spindolyn works as its own lazy kate, though. This is much nicer than my old shoe box lazy kate, I use with my beautiful Goldings. This is not a deal maker but it's pretty darn nice.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, there's little risk of breaking your yarn for lack of twist, though, I'm skilled (ha!) enough to manage this nonetheless. Later in the evening I tried a bit of angora and found it far easier than my previous experiences on a drop spindle. For the purposes of short silky fibers, this really does seem to be a great option.

The Spindolyn also seems to be well made, durable and a good value. For the price, I think you really do get a lot.


Obviously, it's too early to make any final conclusions but based on my first impression, I think this is a good purchase and one I'll have plenty of use for. I still love the drop spindle and find it more relaxing and more efficient. I don't like to have to wind on the fiber every few seconds. I find myself spending a lot more time with my arms craned uncomfortably over my head in an attempt to extend the time drafting and spinning than I do with the drop spindles. However, as I said, I do not see this as a shortcoming of the spindle but as a byproduct of supported spindles in general and my own impatience.

I would love to see these, at some point, come in a model with more wood at the edge of the spindle, to facilitate longer spin time, and perhaps a longer shaft as well, to allow for a larger cop. I don't know if this would adversely effect the performance, but it seems like both would allow for more efficient spinning.

May 31, 2007

There's just been something missing

Since we brought a certain little beast into the home, El Matchador has had to go into hiding. The girls accidentally knocked her over and the injury that could have come to any of the three of them, was simply not worth the risk.

Recently, a friend posted a bowl of deliciousness, and it had my heart aching to do more spinning.

I'm working on a few unbloggable projects now so this is a perfect diversion that doesn't make me feel like I'm ignoring my other responsibilities.

A teeny tiny skein of merino silk worked up on my Spindolyn.


There are only about 18 yards of yarn here, but it's my best little skeinlette off the Spindolyn, yet. I'm still having some trouble getting a good cop on it. When I start to build up too much, it either doesn't hold its shape and goes all wonky, or the yarn starts tucking in under the cop making it impossible to wind it off later. I think I'll get better with practice.

Up next, some "Fudge Brownie" from Nistock Farms. I was never able to get this stuff to spin well on a drop spindle, but on the Spindolyn, it works up beautifully. This gives me hope that I'll also do better with the luxury fibers I have.


And finally, some silk/merino blend that I've had forever. I believe it's Ashland Bay. I'm spinning on my 0.6 ounce Golding.


I haven't been able to use my 0.9 ounce, which was formerly my workhorse, because the hook got a little bent while traveling to and from India, but I'm told I'll be able to get her sorted out at the Fiber Frolic in Maine. It's amazing how much an unbalancedness hook can throw you off. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up enough information from the fine folks at Golding, to fix it myself in the future.

And now for some proof that I shouldn't be allowed to have dogs, after the jump

Continue reading "There's just been something missing" »

June 5, 2007

A few little cuties

These are actually now hanging to dry, but while I had some defused sunlight today, I thought I'd snap some photos of my little skeins of handspun.

Firstly, off the Spindolyn, about 24 yards of Fudge Brownie 2-ply. The roving was from Nistock Farms. I'd say this is my most successful and longest skein off the Spindolyn so far. I am going to keep trying to get better with it. I really strive to have at least 50 yards of plied yarn off a single cop. Maybe that's just silliness, but I think it's enough yarn to actually feel like I can start to knit with it.
The fibers were spun quite fine but there's tons of loft in this stuff so it looks like a worsted weight. I suspect that after washing and drying, it will lose a touch of that loft. I'm estimating it around 18 WPI. My spinning is a little irregular so it definitely won't be mistaken for store bought, but it's really soft and the color is impressively rich.

Off my trusty 0.6 ounce Golding, just under 60 yards of 2 ply. This yarn is fairly consistent with a few "designer" moments throughout. She is about 24 WPIs.

A little closer, if you like.

While I was shooting these photos, Ms. Thea was giving me this look.
Nope, she's not growing into her ears, but I still think she's gorgeous.

About spindolyn

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Marnie, speak! Good girl. in the spindolyn category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

1.9 ounce (golding) celtic ring cherry is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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