Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spinning for Lace Part One: Tibetan Spindles

Back at the beginning of the year, I promised to make some videos of lace spinning. And today, Roy and I managed to produce the first in the series. My personal comfort zone is a grist that, when two-plied, makes a laceweight yarn and when three-plied, makes a fingering yarn. Needless to say, all the techniques shown can be used to spin other weights of yarn.

I particularly enjoy supported spindles because:

  • You don't have to stand up, lean over or perch on a chair. Spinning can proceed easily in the space allotted for an airplane seat.
  • Supported spindling puts no strain on your wrist, neck, or shoulder. 
  • Unlike the pendulum action of drop spindles, which is sensitive to car movement, supported spindles act like gyroscopes and can be easily used in a moving vehicle.
  • You don't have to worry about dropping your spindle and watching the beautiful wood chip, splinter, snap off, or roll underneath the refrigerator.
  • Yarns spun supported are pouffier. Gravity doesn't yank on the fibers, which can squeeze out the air, producing a less elastic yarn.
  • You can fit a whopping amount of fiber on a supported spindle. I've crammed four ounces on my Spanish Peacock Tibetan. Even better, the more fiber you have on the spindle, the longer it spins.
  • For me, supported spindling is about five times faster than drop spindling. I don't have to stop and wind on after a length, as you will see in the video. Every half-hour or so, I butterfly off the temporary cop at the tip and whirl it onto the lower part of the spindle--a big time-saver.
  • The whirring sound is hypnotizing.
  • Because I am spinning in my lap, I can read a book at the same time, doubling my happiness quotient.
There's no sound in this video, because the process is (I hope!) self-evident. The video is long because there are two slow-motion segments so you can actually see what's going on. And Roy carefully filmed from two different angles over my shoulder so you can spin along with me, if you wish.

I used two different Tibetans in the movie. The first one, with the red merino/firestar yarn, was crafted by The Spanish Peacock. The second, smaller Tibetan Lite was crafted by Grizzly Mountain Arts. Weight is not a big factor with Tibetans, so I never bothered to put them on a scale. The Spanish Peacock spindle is 13" from stem to stern. The Tibetan Lite is only 10". Both are perfectly balanced and a delight to both the eye and the hand.

So, make some popcorn and watch the video. I hope you find it worthwhile!

23 comments:

EGunn said...

I've always assumed that suspended and supported spindles were roughly the same. Now I think I need to try spinning supported! This might just fix the shoulder barrier to spinning, and let me use my spindles again. Thanks!

Diana Troldahl said...

Thank you for this, I have become interested in finding ways to spin from my recliner. My heath requires me to lean back with my feet up much of the day. This just might work!

Janice in GA said...

I can spin a fine yarn on a supported spindle, but my spindle-wrangling skills are inferior to yours!

I've been keeping my spindle hand further away from the spindle than you do. Unfortunately, this means the spindle wobbles more than your spindle does.

And I've always wound down onto the cop at the bottom of the spindle and spiraled up to the top. You don't do that in the video, so I'm guessing that at some point you unwind from near the tip of the spindle and rewind down on the cop below?

Your way looks more efficient than mine. I'm gonna try it. :) Thanks for a new way of looking at things!

LittleBerry said...

another excellent production.... very interetsing... my wheel and i have not spoken for months :o(

Katie K said...

I don't spin but you are definitely inspiring me to try.

D Louise said...

Habetrot just posted a video yesterday of a Tibetan woman spinning!

http://habetrot.typepad.com/habetrot/2010/09/tibetan-handcraft.html

Shea said...

You make this look so easy! I've been wanting a supported spindle and I just might have to break down and go ahead and get one.

I love your little helper. What's it's name?

Rosemary said...

I absolutely adore your video. I've watched it over and over again. I love supported spindles - it's how I learned how to spindle spin. Thanks so much for taking the time to make the video - I sure appreciate it.

Your video is just so graceful.

Rosemary

infpknitter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KnitAnotherSock said...

This video changed how I spin. I was relatively new to supported spindles and while I liked the process as it was going so far, I wasn't particularly fast, and certainly slower than on my suspended spindles.

After watching this, I find myself able to do what you did, and I've been able to get more accomplished in a shorter time as a result.

Laritza said...

Absolutely lovely technique, video, lighting, colors. Can't wait for number 2.

Bekky said...

Brilliant! - I have just ordered another new toy and can't wait to try supported spindling

KPiep said...

The Green Woman thinks we need to drop everything, order a new spindle, and try it your way....

She also would like you to know that I'm being lazy about taking the two buckets of angora and the nice wool fleece to the processors so that she can play with it.

bobbins said...

Beautiful. I drop spindle and treadle wheel spin, but this really makes me want to do some supported spindling. I have a tiny supported spindle I bought some time ago, and time to dust it off!

Thank you and Roy for the video. Your helper did look bored at one point!

gayle said...

Thank you for the video! I've seen supported spindles advertised, but couldn't really visualize them in use.
Now, of course, I want one...

Experimental Knitter said...

"You don't have to worry about dropping your spindle and watching the beautiful wood chip, splinter, snap off, or roll underneath the refrigerator."

You don't know the kind of klutz I am. However, I'm game to try it, hopefully at Rhinebeck next month.
Thanks for a great video.

Dave said...

You're tempting me. But gosh, I do love my bottom whorls. And bossies. And just about all the other ones.

Carol said...

another plus-supprted spindles do not resemble dangly cat toys. very useful if you have a cat........

knittingdragonflies said...

Beautiful! I've been spinning on my wheel, now I yearn to get my spindle out again!
Love the kitty
Vicki

Jane said...

Thank you so much for these videos! After watching them I was actually able to practice on my support spindles and get decent lace weight yarn, something I have not been able to do before. You are amazing as usual and a wonderful instructor! Thanks again!

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Fleegle, I think we have the same eyeglass prescription. Are you going to iron that skirt? I'm not recommending that; I'm just asking. I like your carpeting. It looks so squishy. I'll have to watch the movie again because the first time I watched Laptop and everything except the spinning.

Bekky said...

My spanish peacock russian spindle arrived and I started spinning on it last night - really enjoying it although more prcatise is required!

Loanx said...

I just found your video last night. I was mesmerized. Your hand movements are so beautiful and graceful. I love the fact that you don't have to do a complete long draw and everything is in front of your. This reduces arm fatigue and produces more even yarn.