Spending Time

When will I ever learn?

Maybe when I get done reading these books.

Seems my time at the mill always reignites my lust to play with fibers and learn new things. So, I spent my time today looking at photos, reading THE SPINNER’S BOOK OF FLEECE by Beth Smith (awesome!!), contemplating teaching myself how to read a crochet pattern and knit some lace thing (because I’m obviously in need of some torture), and waiting for this book…

Summer is coming and I may have some time to play around with processing fleece myself again and try some natural dyeing projects. So, THE HANDBOOK OF NATURAL PLANT DYES by Sasha Duerr looked interesting as the author discusses mordants that are non-toxic. Some are as simple and uncomplicated as using certain pots…and I like simple and uncomplicated. 🙂

I’m also still getting to know my wish-me spindle…and, though I ALWAYS get super-excited over a new spindle, this time’s different. This time, I’ve even given it a gender and a (gasp) name!

This spindle is a she and her name is Sylvia. 

I know, I know. The name is not far off from the fact that the makers of this spindle call the design of the whorl, ‘Silver Lace’. I’m nothing if not predictable about such things. But our developing bond is stronger because of it. 🙂

However, as you can see, Sylvia did need to have her cop rearranged tonight. Ornery girl, she was carrying her load too high on her shaft, just under the whorl, and it made the singles slip around the top of the whorl. Very poor. If you’ve never spun on a spindle before, I really can’t put into words just how freakishly annoying that can be…and potentially dangerous to a spindle. I mean, Sylvia could have been irreparably injured! Since it’s Saturday, I wanted to spin a bit for #saturdaynightspinning. But, it was near impossible with singles slipping out the notch all willy nilly! So, I had to fix that first.

Let me give you some idea…When the singles slip around the top of the high whorl spindle instead of being secure in a notch or some other notchless-but-like set up, the singles slip off the hook much easier, leaving the spindle unsupported and possibly sending the spindle into a spinning, free-form fall that may end up bending or breaking the hook or damaging the whorl or shaft, etc. It just stinks in general. 

Interestingly enough, many times, the singles slip around the whorl of a high whorl because of the way the cop is built. If it’s not built to handle it, as the cop grows, the singles has nothing to grab onto to keep it secure or the cop won’t allow it to remain secure. A lot of times, I find it happens when the cop is cone-shaped with the singles collecting directly under the whorl at the top of the shaft. It occurs sooner if I’m just wrapping the singles horizontally rather than alternating that with a crisis-cross method of winding. Regardless of the way it’s wound, I find that once that space under the whorl is full of singles, it begins to prevent the newer singles from fitting securely in the notch or resting anywhere along the top of the whorl. The only choices are to allow it to continue slipping (hating your spin for as many times as you’ll have to stop and start-and heightening the chances of damaging the spindle), ply or transfer the singles elsewhere to start over, or rearrange the shape of the cop to fit more on before emptying the spindle. While it can take some time, my choice is usually rearranging the cop. I wind the singles back into a butterfly on my fingers until I have adequate space under the whorl to secure the singles in the notch. The more space I want, the more winding I have to do.

The best cop shape, in my experience, has been the one suggested by Abby Franquemont. It looks something like this in its initial stage.

See how the cop collects in the center? This has an advantage over the cone-shaped cop where the bulk of the singles collect just under the whorl because I can wind the singles all the way back up to the whorl and still have space underneath the whorl to keep the singles in place in the notch. There’s no bulge of singles there pushing the singles back out. There’s nothing like a well-built, good-looking spindle!

Speaking of which…This spindle looks a little thin. Needs to take a cue from Sylvia. 😉 

Time to spend some time fattening this one up!


  1. Have you considered gathering together your posts like this one and submitting them to a book publisher? Then someday I will purchase your excellent book, “Spindle Spinning with Stacey and Sylvia!” xx

    • Haha!! You’d likely be the only one to buy it, Gracie! But I would definitely consider writing it just for you-for free. I know Sylvia would be so ecstatic, such the flashy girl she is. 🙂

  2. Nope … I’d buy it too! You have a way with words and your crafty exploits are very inspiring.

    I love books and I got all of them but I don’t rock with lace so I gave that one away. 😀

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