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Spindle Spinning:
The First Step

Spinning Yarn|SpindlesSpindle Spinning can be an easy first step to learning the art of hand spinning. A Hand-turned and well balanced spindle will give you lots of spinning pleasure.

The spindle itself is a simple tool with three basic parts: the shaft, the whorl and the hook.  The shaft is the piece that is used to spin the spindle and where you will wrap the yarn as it is spun. The Whorl provides the weight to make the device spin. The hook holds the yarn secure to the center of the spindle while you spin.

For the beginner, the bottom whorl spindle is the most common choice. The weight of the spindle determines how much the spindle will pull down on the fiber as you spin. A light spindle may not have enough weight to spin easily whereas a heavy spindle may weight too much for fine yarns and cause your fibers to break.

The method for Spindle Spinning is relatively simple. The fibres to be spun are attached to the leader, a piece of wool yarn 12 to 18 inches in length, coming from the base of your spindle.

Turn the spindle in a clockwise direction a few times to wind the leader yarn around the spindle, up the shaft and twice around the hook, and leaving about an inch of yarn and the loop hanging off the end of the spindle.

Set the spindle spinning by rolling the shaft between your fingers. Add your fibre to the twisting fiber. When you reach the end of the fiber you've drafted, stop the spindle spinning by holding it between your legs or feet as you draft the next segment of fibers.

Spinning Yarn|Drop spindlePinch the fiber and set the spindle spinning again, moving the twist into these next fibers. This done, repeat: stop and draft again. Wind the yarn onto the shaft of the spindle in an upside-down cone shape, holding back a length to go through the hook to start again. Should the spindle change direction of rotation, the yarn will unravel.

The yarn from a full spindle can be plied on itself, or with another lot, making a multiple strand yarn. Spindle spinning is highly portable, and can be done almost anywhere, including on a long car ride.

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