The Wand Chooses the Wizard

High-whorl drop spindles, clockwise from top:    Ashford   ,    Spindlewood   ,    Spindlewood   ,    Kundert   , homemade.

High-whorl drop spindles, clockwise from top: Ashford, Spindlewood, Spindlewood, Kundert, homemade.

I've been following some of you in your Tour De Fleece journeys, and it makes me wish I had joined in.  I've been spending some quality time with my spindles, though, and it has inspired me to share the following:

3 Reasons Why Every Knitter Should Drop Spindle

1.    Mind

No matter how much you know about knitting, you can't really understand it until you have a hands-on knowledge of how yarn is made.  To get that, you must hold fiber in your hands and turn it into string, using twist.  And a spinning wheel, while nice, is not the same for introducing the concept.  Think of it like this:  A spinning wheel is like a word processor.  If you want to write a book (especially if you are in a hurry), the wheel will get you there very efficiently.  A spindle, however, is like a fountain pen.  If you want to learn how to form letters, and spend time coming to understand them intimately, the elegance and simplicity of the spindle make it the tool you need.  Even if you don't intend to become a spinner at all (no law says you have to), get hold of a spindle and some fiber, and learn to make yarn.  It will change the way you look at knitting forever, I promise.

2.    Body

Knitters sit too much.  Yeah, I said it.  I'm guilty, and so are you.  Drop spindling is best done standing up (or even walking around), and because it's fun to do, you won't mind getting off your arse even a little bit.  Another great thing: it makes you move your arms in big wide open arcs, which is the opposite of knitting, where you scrunch your neck and chest forward.  In fact, the action of drop-spindling is almost self-correcting, posture-wise.  If you are standing and/or moving wrong, you probably can't make string, and vice-versa.  Go to class with Carson Demers to learn more.  You will never regret it.

3.    String

Most of us discover at some point in the spinning process that the string we make ourselves is the very best string in the whole wide world.  It's the same as the strawberry you grow yourself in your own garden; More delicious in every way.  And you've probably heard me say this before, but it bears repeating in a down economy: Spinners get to play with their fiber TWICE.  Think about it:  The same $16 buys 4oz of handpainted yarn, or 4oz of handpainted fiber.  If you spin it first, you've already enjoyed it once before you ever knit!

And there's one more thing: Spindles are gorgeous works of art, made more beautiful by utility.  They look and feel completely different when in use than when on display.  The right spindle will whisper (or sing, or shout) to you when you find it because something about it makes it impossible for you to resist.  Take my advice when that happens, and allow it into your life.  Falling in love with a spindle is the first step to yarn whispering.  Why fight it.?

Those are my big fat observations on the subject.  Now share yours!