Over the years since I started knitting again in earnest and spinning, I have bought and sold much equipment trying to find the perfect fit for my pleasure. Everyone eventually finds the equipment that pleases them the most and everyone’s favorite is equally disliked by others, or just indifferent to it. It would be great if everything could be tried out for a while first, but like with cars, furniture, appliances, etc. sales are the goal. With spinning, in some areas, you can find a local store or fiber fest that may have several manufacturers and models of wheels, but trying one for a few minutes in a store doesn’t really give you the knowledge you need to fall in love or dislike with it.
I have learned that I don’t like metal knitting needles and crochet hooks. Most of the metal needles react with my skin chemistry and produce a mild odor that I find unpleasant. Carbon fiber and wood suit me better. I only use circular knitting needles and whether they have fixed tips or are interchangeable, the flexibility of the cable is important. I have tried many brands and have settled on Lykke and Karbonz as my favorites.
With spindles, I have tried wood top whorl, bottom whorl, Turkish, Russian support, and Daelgan (Scottish) style again from many craftsmen. Some I liked okay, the Turkish I have kept for the longest, though it is usually just used for plying. Since I started spinning and went to my first fiber festival, I have desired to own a drop spindle crafted by Tom Golding. A few weeks ago, I ordered one off of Etsy, a large spindle with the whorl looking like a flock of sheep faces with a bright bronze ring.
I liked that it spun for a long time, but found it a tad too heavy for my use and sold it quickly for what it cost. But I wanted a Golding and went directly to his website and ordered one that is a bit smaller and lighter. It came today.
The slightly smaller whorl, solid top, and lighter weight appeal to me more and allow me to spin the finer yarn that I like to spin on spindles, plus it came with some delightfully playful fiber to sample. My two spindles are here to stay, the rest have found new homes.
In the decade that I have been spinning, I used only spindles at first, then met a group of spinners and fell into the rabbit hole of spinning wheels. Like needles and drop spindles, they have pluses and minuses. My first wheel was a wonky old wheel that had been repaired by a friend who learned to spin on it and sold it to me to learn on. It was a decent little wheel, but the bobbins were very small and the wheel itself slightly warped. It went on to a friend to learn on and I bought a travel wheel, actually a large wheel that folded somewhat and fit in a huge backpack. I liked that wheel for it’s appearance, it fit in well when re-enacting, but there were some things I wasn’t really thrilled with and it was loaned to the friend who bought the wonky wheel which came back to me when she bought the folding wheel. I used it long enough to find a used wheel I liked and it was probably one of my favorites, but it didn’t fit in when I was at the historic house and I didn’t want too many wheels, but I bought a 200+ year old wheel to take there and tried to make it a functional wheel. I got it working with the help of a spinning wheel restorer, but it was hard on my knees and hips and I sold it, sold the non historic wheel, and sold the wonky wheel to a local teen that wanted to learn, and bought another that required me to assemble and finish it. That wheel goes with me to historic events, but has very small bobbins. Somewhere along the way, Jim bought me an old Great or Walking Wheel. That one stays at home because of it size and is still being made totally functional.
And a month or so ago, I tried and fell in love with a tiny little wheel that fits in a large canvas tote, has huge bobbins, and is probably the favorite wheel I have owned.
I am done. I have my perfect spindles, needles, hooks, and more wheels than I need, but one that fits the historic spinning venues, one that looks awesome in our log home that is fun to play with, and one that travels well and that I just love. Plus enough fluff and yarn to keep me busy for quite a while.