I have never used a spinning wheel before. I started spinning (lace-weight for the most part) this past August with a hank of fiber and my fingers, progressed to a pencil for larger amounts. Pencils kept me going at about 80 yards a session and I'd sit there watching tv while doing it. If I had a book that would prop itself open I could read, too!
This past October I decided I wanted to get a spindle. I asked around to see what to get - brand and top vs bottom. Chose a louet top whorl. Everyone gave their praises to it.
And I HATED it. I couldn't use it, it either went way way too fast or my fiber would snap and it'd fall to the floor. I broke the darn thing and went back to my pencil -- my friend, however, was intrigued by all of this spinning nonsense. She and I are sculpture majors so, of course, she wanted to make a spindle of her own. The result is what you see above -- a bottom made from scrap wood, a dowel from the back of a chair and small pencil rod bent and manipulated to form a hook. I will say that I absolutely love this spindle and I'd never trade it for the world -- it makes spinning fun for me. It also goes easily where I go and I've never had a problem out of it.
If you've got a top... I say try a bottom or switch brands. See where that gets you. What kind of fiber have you been using? I'm going to sing praises to the Dorset breed and also to Cranberry Moon Farm
. They have wonderful fleeces and rovings for a great price. They also keep good contact throughout transactions and have prompt shipping times.
I wish you luck