A little while ago, at a fibre event, a lady was looking for a spindle. She wanted a drop spindle for her child, aged around 8, who wanted to learn to spin. She was talking to some experienced spinners, asking for advise on which spindle to buy. And one of the spinners said “It’s just for a kid. Stick one of those wooden wheels on a stick, or an old CD on a stick. That’s good enough.”
My hackles rose! It is not “just for a Kid”. It is for a Person. And a person deserves the best and most appropriate tools for the job at hand. This does not mean the most expensive, just the best you can get at a price you can afford.
Don’t get me wrong. Those little wooden spindles made from wooden wheels, or with stone whorls can be wonderful! That is, if they are made correctly. If the shaft length is correct for the weight, if the shaft is centred, and the whorl is balanced. If the maker knows what the heck they are doing, and tests it when it’s done!
But if none of those things are taken into consideration, and a stick is just shoved into any old thing…. yes, you can spin on it. But there won’t be a lot of pleasure in it, it’s going to wobble, and spin for about 5 seconds before it stops.
I’ve seen and heard this so often, and it annoys me terribly. “I tried to teach my child to knit. I gave him my old wooden needles … the ones with the splinters on the points. He gave up after 3 tries”. “I tried to teach my child to spin. She just was so picky, she didn’t want to use the CD spindle I made her, and anyway she was so clumsy, she couldn’t keep it spinning” .
If the tool isn’t good enough for an adult, it isn’t good enough for a child either.
You cannot make Chicken Soup for Chicken Poop, my friends!
(Want to see a stone bottom whorl drop spindle by someone who knows how to make them, and tests them? I own a number of these, and they spin true and forever… a friend in Saskatchewan makes them )