Saturday, May 23, 2015

Book Review: Respect the Spindle

I was recently feeling the siren call of fiber and wanted to rekindle my desire to spin. I'm still saving up for a spinning wheel but I wanted to get my fix... so I dug up one of my drop spindles and a bit of fiber to get going! I borrowed Abby Franquemont's Respect the Spindle from the library as a refresher and was so impressed. 

This book really wraps everything a beginner would need to know into one package, while still providing enough information about spindle spinning methods for even a moderate to advanced spinner to find ways to improve his or her technique. I loved that a lot of historical tidbits were dispersed throughout the book. It's a reminder that people have been doing this for thousands of years, and I can do it too with enough practice and dedication! Initially, Abby goes over the basic principles of spinning: fiber properties, twist and tensile strength, the basic physics of spindle operation, and drafting methods. She breaks down those first few awkward tries at spinning into simple steps, with a number of illustrations. Before you know it, you've spun a length of yarn!

For folks starting to feel a bit more comfortable handling a spindle Abby helps you understand and explore the mechanical process of spinning yarn to identify where you have opportunities for increasing your efficiency. I can't tell you how helpful this was to me - some years ago, I went onto a web forum to ask about how people increase their speed using a spindle. Overwhelmingly, the response was "practice!" But, practicing something over and over again just makes you better at what you're doing, it doesn't necessarily help you find ways of doing it slightly differently.

Abby details the components of spinning from hand positions, to wind-on methods, to options for setting your spindle in motion. She also has a great step-by-step process for timing your spinning - I just did not realize that I was taking so much time winding on my finished length of yarn!!!

I highly recommend this as a book for anyone interested in spinning, whether you've never picked up a spindle before or you're a seasoned spinner looking to improve your process. I enjoyed this book so much I purchased a copy to have it in my reference library!
 


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