A spindolyn is a unique and original "quill supported" support spindle. It is engineered to eliminate the "drop" of a drop spindle, the need for the support of a support spindle and to give a smooth, fast spin, great for medium fine to fine yarns.
Perfect for spinning sitting down, in the car, in your easy chair or while lounging in bed!
The Spindolyn is made of two parts, the spindle whorl with it's brass shaft, and the wooden base with it's specially shaped brass tube that the shaft rides in.
- Help I lost my instruction sheet that was enclosed with spindolyn. Here you go, a PDF
- Which Spindolyn do I choose? In general,
the smaller (lighter weight) the whorl, the faster the spin, but the
shorter the spin time. The larger and heavier the whorl, the slower the
spin, but the longer the spindolyn will turn.
So spinners who primarily spin fine, lace-weight or cotton would choose the smaller whorl. For plying, or bulky yarns, and beginners, you would choose the larger whorls, and for a multi-purpose spindolyn, a medium sized whorl.
Now, having said that.... you can spin any sized yarn on any spindolyn by adapting your technique. Because it does not drop and you can slow it down or speed it up to your own pace, it is very suitable for spinning very even yarns, for practicing your drafting, and for controlling the amount of twist. To add more twist to the length of yarn you have just spun, you simply give the spindolyn another spin before winding on. The base choice is a personal preference. Many people like to make a bean bag cover for their base to make it more stable and comfy, and to act as a “shock absorber” as the shaft rides in the slightly larger tube.
- What are the differences in the styles of bases? There is a blog post here with an explanation.
- How do I tell if my spindolyn is interchangeable with current spindle and base styles? The newer models all have an approximately 3 inch shaft below the whorl, and a 3 inch deep tube. The older model spindolyns have an approximately 6 inch shaft and tube, and will not interchange.
- Is the Spindolyn different from spinning on a drop spindle? Yes and No. The spindolyn is a fully supported spindle. On a supported spindle such as the spindolyn, tahkli, or the kind of spindle that rides in a bowl, you draft away from the spin by moving your fiber hand upward, always upward, away from the newly spun yarn. On a drop spindle, gravity is pulling the yarn down, away from you as a spin. The drafting technique you choose to use is up to you. Advantages of the spindolyn are that you can change it's speed, or stop it completely, you can use it in a car, in bed, or in a wheelchair and of course, it doesn't drop!
- Ah yes, the bane of the spinners existence (well, no, I think probably vegetable matter is, at least for the shepherd) but anyway, it is normal for the spindolyn to have a slight amount of wobble when it is spinning empty without the tension of the forming of yarn, because it has freedom of movement in the tube to reduce friction. Once yarn is being drafted in an upward direction, it will spin smoother.
- The number one cause of wobble for new spindolyn spinners is giving it too much twirl (thwing!) to get it started. Unlike a drop spindle, you don't need as much energy to get the spindolyn started or keep it going, a gentle twirl will give you plenty of spin for the length of draft you have available (after all, your arm is only so long) if you need more twist, give it another gentle twirl. Because it can't drop, you can go as slow and easy as you like.
- The spindolyn is designed to sit loosely between your legs or on a cushioned surface, this "cush" acts as a shock absorber for the deviation from rotational motion that the space in the tube affords and helps to encourage the spindle to ride on the point smoother and faster. This is why when the spindolyn is held loosely, it spins smooth, but if you grip the base tightly, it begins to wobble. The spindolyn is not designed to spin on a table, because it will set up a deviation from the center, but if you set it on top of a pot holder or sweater on the table, this amount of cushion will smooth out the rotation. (try this at home, fun! lol)
- Damage; sadly, stuff happens. If you shaft or hook get whacked out of true, you will get a wobble, in most cases, you can study it, eyeball it and carefully get everything back as straight as possible. Contact me if you need help
- How do I wind off of the spindolyn?
Wind your newly spun yarn off the spindolyn shaft the same way that you wound on, with the spindolyn riding in its base and the yarn held out perpendicular to the shaft, near the whorl. If you have been consistent in the way you wound on as you spun, the winding off will go better. You can wind directly on to a ball winder by placing the base between your knees and and use one hand to turn the ball winder and one hand to in-circle the shaft and one finger to act as a drag or brake on the yarn or the whorl.
- How do I care for the spindolyn?
Keep yarn and dust off of the shaft below the whorl, lest it get into the tube and slow down the spin. Occasionally put a drop of light spinning or sewing machine oil inside the brass tube. Wipe down the shaft below the whorl with a cloth, or even polish it with fine steel wool if you like. If something does get inside the tube (chips, cat hair, dirt, chocolate) you can vacuum it out, or fish it out with a pipe cleaner, crochet hook, etc. Watch for bits of fleece that get wrapped around the shaft below the whorl and slow things down.
- Why the choice in tubing? Do I have options of no tube and no hook?
The original tubing was a softer type of material, the quality of it became variable over time, and I had to find a more stable and reliable tubing to use, so I experimented with food grade tubing, both clear and black and found the clear to be the most reliable. You can order a spindle without the tubing, or even without the hook, by telling me in the "note to seller" box at checkout. I will say, however, that the tubing helps you spin the shaft with less finger fatigue, and keeps the beginning wind-ons from tangling....If you choose not to have a hook, it does limit the angle that you can spin at, and makes chain plying "as you go" more difficult, that being said, if you are an advanced spinner, you may dig it, and who am I to tell you how to do your thing?
- What happened to the other styles of Spindolyn? As a semi-obsessed spinner and inventor, I am continuously experimenting and improving the Spindolyn (and other unpublished spindle designs) Right now, I am ecstatic over the performance of the new improved Spindolyns, and am actually making a dent in some of my fiber stash with it, because I don't want to put them down.
- How come I have seen fancy spindolyns, but not on your website? You can find the fancy spindolyns in my Etsy Store.
- About the bean bag "nest'
For many spinners, the bean bag cover for the base is the ultimate way
to go, solving the problems of skirt wearing, or ample thighs, or odd
positions. It also works as a bit of a shock absorber to smooth out the
spin if the yarn gets wound onto the spindolyn unevenly.
The first free bean bag pattern can be found here on my blog.
and now there is another one, here, on a blog post with a pdf.
As time has gone by, more spinners have shared their ideas with me about pouches, bags and "nests" for their spindolyn, including just winding a thick scarf around the base.. the creativity is amazing!