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Topic: Call this a dumb question, but . . .  (Read 928 times)
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Androgynous scarf-knitter
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« on: April 10, 2006 04:03:56 PM »

How much more dificult is it to spin on a spinning wheel as opposed to a drop spindle? I've heard that it's best for beginners to use the drop spindle, but is that because of increased ease, or because spinning wheels can cost an arm and a leg and it's best that beginners don't make such a huge investment?

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Benevolent Goddess of Worm-spit and Sunshine
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006 06:48:17 PM »

Which would be better if you asked car or motorcycle? Both have their quirks. Personally I like dropspindles more because they are infinitely portable, and spinning wheels more for plying than spinning. Ease of use is about the same, so is the skill (hand/eye) learning curve, but wheeling and watching television or reading is easy and spindling while walking or shopping is easy too. When learning to spin your yarn won't wontonly wrap about a dropspindle like it would a flyer, nor will a spinning wheel shoot across a room because you drafted too fast and flicked too slow-- so they both have their frustrations as well.

Go with your gut instinct and choose based off of what you'd like to do. If you can, try both before investing in either.

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." Mark Twain
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006 05:30:38 PM »

Using a drop spindle is a nice introduction to spinning. It's much cheaper, and in some ways, it can give you a very visceral demonstration about how spinning works. You're the one always applying the twist with your fingers, and you can look at the yarn inch by inch as you wind it on your spindle. It takes about an afternoon, or maybe a few tries, but your hands will get the hang of it.

Interweave has a great pamphlet about how to make a spindle out of CDs. That's what I first spun on, and I still haven't bought a drop spindle yet, I've only made my own. However, if I had a spinning shop in my town, I'd probably have a big collection of bought spindles. They can range from the totally utilitarian to the shockingly beautiful. Enough blabbering, here's the link:


Interweave has great free pamphlets on how to start spinning, as well on that page.

Spinning, either with a spindle or a wheel, is more about getting a knack, or a feel for it. Sometimes it'll feel awkward at the beginning on a new wheel or with a new spindle even for experienced spinners, but it's a matter of time before your body figures it out.

I'd recommend you try out many spinning wheels before you go out and buy one. Each brand is different and there are so many types, and each has their quirks.  I'd hate for you to give up on spinning because a certain wheel didn't suit you. They're a big investment, whereas a spindle can cost you only around $1.50 to make, or $15 to buy and there's only a few variables: weight, top or bottom whorl, hook or non-hook.

So, to answer your question, it is mostly about expense, but I still think that a handspindle is a good way to start out because it's a more "direct" experience. Taking a class is probably the best idea, as often they'll teach you on both handspindles and wheels.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2006 06:27:24 PM by sulicat » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006 06:38:31 PM »

i agree with sulicat and chromegrrrl. the only thing that i have to offer is that if you haven't tried spinning yet, i would start with a spindle just because it's cheaper, and you'll get a good feel for the process. then if you become hopelessly addicted to that (even if it's frustrating), you won't feel so bad about getting a wheel, because they are really expensive.

as soon as i started on the spindle i knew spinning was for me, and about 6 months later i found myself buying a wheel! so you just have to try it out and see how you feel. i also agree with trying out a number of wheels before committing to one. i didn't get to try out that many before i bought mine, but i was lucky and ended up loving it.

hey, i do personal swaps! especially for fiber. i am addicted to fiber & yarn. addicted.

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