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Old 05-22-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
ittybittypretty
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What is the best spindle weight to learn on?
I've been playing with the idea of learning how to spin ever since I "discovered" it online recently- I thought it died out with the pioneers!

I want to buy my first spindle, but I notice that the spindles come in different weights.

Can someone break down what spindle weights give you what weight of yarn.

I'd like to spin something I'd actually knit with-so nothing too big. But what's the best spindle weight to learn on?

And also what's the best fiber to try first?

Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:59 AM   #2
knitasha
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Generally, the lighter the yarn you want to spin, the lighter the spindle. If you try spinning laceweight yarn on a heavy spindle, it will break. If you try to spin worsted on a heavy spindle, the spindle will stall.

A spindle just over an ounce (maybe 1.2 or 1.3 ounces) will give you a nice knittable DK weight. With some experience, you should also be able to spin worsted or laceweight on it.

A very light spindle -- .5 ounces or less -- will spin laceweight and silk, but is harder for a beginner to handle (those little babies are fast).

A heavier spindle -- over 2 ounces -- is best for thicker yarn and for plying.

The best learning fiber, IMO, is wool top -- either Columbia, Coopworth, Blue-Faced Leicester or a blend. (I love the names of the different sheep breeds!)

Suggestion: go to thebellwether.com and ask the owner, Amelia, for suggestions. Hers may be different from mine and they're likely to be excellent. She has a starter kit that contains a decent spindle, several good clumps of fiber, and the book she wrote for beginners. I can't stress enough the importance of having a good reference book on hand. It will answer questions you didn't even know to ask. In addition to Amelia's, there is Spindle Spinning:From Novice to Expert by Connie Delaney, Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson Roberts, and Spin It by Lee Raven.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:49 PM   #3
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Thanks so much, I'm so excited to get started!
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
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Great advice as always Knitasha, same thing you told me on another post recently. One question. The lady from Bellwether told me that your advice was wise about the weight for spinning sock weight yarn, but she also said that beginners can spin thicker yarn more easily, that it usually takes some practice to be able to do fingering weight yarn - but added that some do get the hang of spinning right off and can do the thinner yarn successfully at first. Do you agree? Should I get the lighter drop-spindle for thicker yarn first or just dive right in to the heavier one for fingering weight yarn?
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:09 AM   #5
ittybittypretty
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Originally Posted by Arielluria View Post
Should I get the lighter drop-spindle for thicker yarn first or just dive right in to the heavier one for fingering weight yarn?
I think maybe you've misunderstood-It looks like what knitasha is saying is that lighter spindles = lighter (thinner) weight yarn, heavier spindles= heavier (thicker) yarn
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #6
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You're right, thanks! I do still need to know what to start with, thin or thick yarn because I really am looking to do little spinning and get to using my yarn quick so I figured sock weight would be what I wanted.

How about you? What do you want to spin?
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:02 AM   #7
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Well it sounds like the thinner yarns are really difficult to do first, and you need a really light spindle to do it. I'm going to buy a kit from this seller on etsy:http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5223921 It weighs 1.6 oz, which is a medium weight spindle. She;s going to make me a custom listing for just 4oz of white wool and lower the price to $18.95 since I didn't love the hand dyed stuff she was offering.

I figured if that goes well, then I can invest in another lighter spindle (but I haven't found any inexpensive ones..they are like $40-$60!!)
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:04 AM   #8
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One more thing, the spindles don't come with notches, so I asked her to add 2 for me. She's going to let me know when it's ready.

She says not every spinner uses a notch, but all the tutorials I've watched online uses notches on the whorl so I decided I wanted one.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:45 AM   #9
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The notches are the little hooks like on a regular spinning wheel? I haven't learned all the vocabulary yet. :D
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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A notch is a little divit on the whorl itself, it helps hold the yarn in place as you are spinning apparently.
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