You all know how much I love my toys.
But there are times when you really have to spin on a dime and this past couple weeks, I’ve been really stretching dollars till they holler.
For those of you who haven’t tried spinning yet because you don’t have the money or don’t know how to make one, just you hold up a sec…
Months ago, the Abby Franquemont, author of RESPECT THE SPINDLE (which I am quite happy to inform you is also in a kindle-ized version ) , came to Greenbank Mills to show us all some basic and advanced spindle spinning techniques. Ms. Franquemont learned her spindle spinning techniques growing up in the Andes and I love reading about the tricks she shares that you can pick up from them.
We all bought standard spindles from her in order to be working with all the same equipment. What we got was basically dowels with toy wheels attached. For the top whorl, it also included a hook. For the bottom whorl, one end was tapered I think because it’s for stabbing into the ground to form an Andean 2-stranded plying ball. Of course, they may just ply right from there if they want, I suppose.
These are probably the cheapest spindles you could make. But look how effective they can be.
That yarn is pretty fine and it comes from a bottom whorl spindle which many find to be an inferior spindle for some reason. Granted, I think the high whorls tend to be more ornate, usually. But the bottom whorl spindles work just as well to me.
As for plying though, I don’t always go outside to make plying balls. I mean, I don’t really keep a lot of sheep (lol), so unless I feel like connecting in some way to that practice (it could happen), I find other ways to make that same ball if I want to spin on-the-go, or I use methods to just ply the yarn straight away if I can stay put for a bit. Again, lest you think that all of the instruments have to be pricey-or that all of the instruments that I have are pricey, I give you the humble shoe box. Spinners often use these for Lazy Kate’s.
Do I want a Golding Lazy Kate for my spindles? Of course! I got three Goldings in one shot just because I wanted to order this baby one day, lol. But for now, this does the trick and it only cost me the price of some shoes that my daughter needed anyway. With this, I can make the plying ball or skip it and go straight to plying.
Now, if I definitely wanted to make a 2-stranded plying ball first because I needed to take it with me-and can’t fit a shoebox where I’m going (not far-fetched), depending on the amount of singles I had, I would either wind an Andean plying bracelet and make it from there…Or I might use a nostepinne like this one I got from Enid Ashcroft. Or I could just use a paper towel roll rather than the noste. I could even use a ball winder, like I learned from the ladies at Greenbank Mills and then make it from there. Yup, it’s really that simple and can be that cheap.
If you look at the rods that are holding the cop that I took from those toy wheel spindles, they’re just knitting needles.
They’re the cheap aluminum kind that I don’t even like to use anyway because they give me wrist problems. Cheap and easy needles for plying.
Why do I need to review all these cost-effective spinning tools? Glad you asked!
At the school where I work, we did some scheduling changes which allowed all the specials teachers like me to start a club for our kids that replaces their recess. Now,we have a book club, a drum line, and an art club. Well, what do you think was the first thing the art clubbers wanted to learn? You got it. Spinning. Hence, my quest to figure out how to get approximately 14 possible kids spinning on a dime.
The first trip I took was to Lowe’s to get some basic supplies. I couldn’t find toy wheels though they are on their website. Sigh. I really like to get things in the store if I can. But they did have these square blocks and some dowels. Along with a cheap drill, that was enough to get started. I got some hooks and some glue for later though. All in all, for twelve dowels and twelve blocks though, I spent about $30. That’s about $2.50 per spindle. Not bad at all.
On the Friday I got these, I let the kids adulterate these with paint. Because it’s fun.
By the next week, I had gotten them some undyed fluff from an etsy shop called Sheepish Creations. I ordered it that same Friday and was so happy that the fluff got there in time for their next day with me on Tuesday. Pretty cool. I think it was about another $28 for 3 balls of fluff of different breeds to show them that all fluff is not the same. Again, with each ball being clean, drafting well and weighing in at about 3.5 ounces each, that’s not a bad deal either.
This was how far we got by Friday of this week.
About four of the ten that have joined the club have really taken off with park and draft…They’re the ultra-competitive type, lol. The others are doing pretty good too, though they started later than the four. Now, all of a sudden, I have a lot more applications for art club, lol!
We’ll see if we can’t get the new clubbers spinning on a dime too.