Gifts for Spinners
It is the time of year for creating your gift giving list. If you have a spinner on your list, it can be a challenge. The list below offers some suggestions. The list is alphabetical with a short description of what each tool does.
All of the items below you can find online with a simple Google search. Offline it may be a bit more of a challenge for some items, especially the fiber or roving. For that you will need to find a shop that specializes in spinning or weaving or check for a local fiber show or festival. Local breeders of sheep, alpaca, llama, etc may also offer fiber or roving for sale.
If you were to ask a spinner, probably the number one gift would be roving or fiber. Think of it like a knitter; for them a few balls of beautiful yarn would be a great gift. When seeking out roving or fiber, find something that is unique; something your spinner wouldnât ordinarily buy for themselves.
If your spinner is particular about their equipment, which many are, choose something fun like a Christmas ornament, coffee mug, T-shirt or tote bag. Include a gift card for a shop that sells spinning tools and you have a very nice gift.
Let's Get Started
Once you have spun a nice bobbin full of yarn, it’s time to knit! A ball winder can take the yarn from the bobbin or from a niddy noddy and create a useable ball of yarn.
As you are spinning, the yard gets wound onto a bobbin. Bobbins come in different sizes and colors. Bigger bobbins are typically used for bulkier yarns or if you are planning a big project. It is nice to have an extra bobbin or two for storage.
There are a variety of books of the subject of spinning. Below is a sampling:
- The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning. by Alden Amos
- Spinning Wheels, Spinners, and Spinning by Patricia Baines
- Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning by Lexi Boeger
- Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn by Maggie Casey
- Spin, Dye, Stitch: How to Create and Use Your Own Yarns by Jennifer Claydon
- Creative Spinning by Alison Daykin
- Handspinning: Art and Technique by Allen. Fannin
- In Sheep’s Clothing: A Handspinner’s Guide to Wool by Nola Fournier
- Spin Span Spun: Fact and Folklore for Spinners and Weavers by Bette Hochberg
- The Spinner’s Companion by Bobbie Irwin
- The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn by Judith MacKenzie McCuin
- Color in Spinning by Deb Menz
- Encyclopedia of Handspinning by Mabel Ross
- Spinning for Softness and Speed by Paula Simmons
- Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney
A Few Great Books
More Great Gifts
Before the spinning wheel, a spindle was used. Typically made of wood, a spindle is basically a stick with a weight called a whorl. At times, instead of the whorl, the stick is shaped larger towards the bottom. Spindles come in a variety of sizes, colors and weights depending on what type of yarn you want to spin.
After fleece is sheared from the animal, it needs to be processed before it can be spun. A drum carder provides the most efficient means of doing that. This machine features two drums that are covered with carding cloth, containing hundreds of tiny teeth. When the fleece is passed between these two drums, the fiber is combed, stretched and cleaned providing a batt of fiber to be spun or felted.
Drum Carders to Consider
- Duncan Carders
Carding Machines that are simple to use, sturdy, beautiful and made to last.
- Fancy Kitty: hand crafted drum carders and wool pickers
fancy kitty: hand crafted drum carders and wool pickers (bench and cradle pickers, kitten, little tom, and big tom drum carders). made by hand in the usa.
- Clemes and Clemes
Spinning wheels, drum carders, hand carders, blending board, spindles, accessories
- Pat Green Carders
Designers and Builders of the Most Advanced Carders and Pickers. The fabulous Three Drum Supercard.
Get Color and More
In history, all dying of fiber was done by nature and can still be done this way. Today, some people find it more convenient to dye using solutions containing color and chemicals. This method allows a much broader range of colors and creates a more stable dye. Different types of dyes are used for different types of fiber as well as whether you are dying loose fiber, yarn or cloth.
Using the same teeth filled card cloth as a drum carder, hand cards look like paddles with the card cloth attached. The fleece is brushed between a set of paddles to create the fiber to be spun. The paddles come in a variety of sizes and can be flat or curved. The card cloth also comes in different sizes depending on what you are carding.
After you have spun your fiber into yarn, it remains on the bobbin. From the bobbin, the yarn is either wound off into a skein or it is plyed together with yarn from another bobbin. In either case, the lazy kate holds the bobbin(s) in place while you wind.
The gift that keeps on giving. A magazine subscription will last the whole year. Here are some to consider:
- The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
A niddy noddy is a tool that is used to turn your yarn into skeins. You can find them in different sizes depending on what size yarn you have spun and the size of skein you want to create.
After carding, fiber is typically in batt form which is a rectangular shape. To make it easier to spin, you can make roving out of the batt by passing it through a diz. This creates a long and narrow bundle of fiber. You can find roving in a wide variety of widths and colors. Nothing makes a spinner drool more than a beautiful bag of roving ready to spin.
Spinners Control Card and Yarn Gauge
If you are working a project that requires a specific diameter of yarn or if you want to make sure you are spinning consistently, you will want a control card and gauge. Lay your yarn under the gauge to determine the diameter of your yarn, then check it against the card to see what you will produce.
If you want to produce a worsted yarn, the fiber must be combed before you spin it. Wool combs not only remove vegetable matter and second cuts of fleece; they also comb it so that all the fibers are lined up. This creates beautiful and strong yarn once spun.
What is your favorite fleece to spin?
Sort Out Your Yarn
Do you have a bobbin of yarn, but have no idea how much you have? Thread your yarn through a yarn meter as you wind it on a ball winder. It will let you know how many yards of yarn you have.
A step up from the niddy noddy is the yarn skeiner or swift. It does the work for you to wind your yarn into a skein.