[Manic Mondays] You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

posted in: Manic Mondays | 7

The cats are at war again (still?), which means they are shitting and pissing everywhere.  Which means my wheel is in our bedroom as it is forbidden to them which means I’m not making as much progress as I would like to be making with my winter inventory.  CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATS!!!!!!!!!!

But just because my cats can’t behave doesn’t mean you can’t take up hand spinning.  I still secretly love hand spinning the best, it’s just so much slower than wheel spinning.  But it’s a much better place to start in my opinion.  Firstly, it’s a much less expensive place to start so if you don’t love it it’s not a big deal.  Secondly, learning the wheel is sooooo easy if you know how to hand spin first.  I learned to spin on a top whirl hand spindle.  I think Corriedale sheep wool roving is a good starting fiber to learn on, it’s a bit coarse but not too coarse, has a long staple length and is pretty inexpensive.  Dyeing is a lot of fun too, you can even dye 100% undyed wool yarn or roving with Kool Aid which is an inexpensive and safe starting place.  If you use acid based dyes, you’ll need a stock pot dedicated to dyeing only so you don’t slowly poison yourself and your family.  A yarn bowl keeps you from getting too tangled if you’re plying.


1. Start Spinning by Maggie Casey: Amazon $14.93

2. Top Whorl Maple Spindle: The Knit Store $6.49

3. Louet Corriedale Spinning Fiber, Warm Wine: Paradise Fibers $3.20/oz

4. Yarn Bowl in Iron Red: The Mud Place $32.00

5. Winco 8 Quart Aluminum Stock Pot: Elite Restaurant Equipment $16.94

6. Dharma Acid Dye, Fire Engine Red: Dhama Trading Company $6.40/two oz

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


7 Responses

  1. I’ve only handspun a few times in my life, but I’ve always found it very soothing. Right now I’ve got my hands full teaching kids to use the 3D printer at school, though, and learning pop-up books well enough to teach a class. But yeah, this is very powerful work, on lots of different levels.
    Andrew B. Watt recently posted..Pop-Up Book: Five ElementsMy Profile

    • A 3D printer, wow! I didn’t know they existed. How does it work?

      • Um…

        Well, basically you take a 3-D model made in a program like SketchUp, and you run that model through a digital filter program, which strips the 3-D model down into a series of discrete layers; and then you run that digital file through another digital filter which separates the original model into a series of moves through x-y-z coordinates, and adds in some additional instructions about how much plastic cable to advance to the melter and then to squirt onto the build-platform…

        The printer itself is a Frankenstein-like contraption built out of laser-cut wood and disassembled HP paper inkjet printers, that basically consists of three interlocking motor systems — one for X-axis moves, one for Y-axis moves, and one for Z-axis moves; and a pair of heating units, one that melts ABS plastic at 220° C, and one that lightly heats up the same plastic along the base of the object you’re building to 110° C so it stays in one place as you’re building it. There’s a big reel of ABS plastic cable attached to a feeder, which uses little gear-teeth to force-feed the raw plastic to the melter. And the melter is attached to the X-Y-Z motors, so that as the plastic is melted and pushed through, it falls in little drops onto precisely located spots, and gradually builds the 3D model you designed in SketchUp…

        You know what? That’s probably more than you wanted to know. She’s just a 3D Printer, you know? You give her a model of what you want, and give her precise geometrical instructions, and she obeys those instructions exactly, even if that’s not actually what you want. Her name is Moira. She’s magic. 🙂
        Andrew B. Watt recently posted..Taiji day 335: winter blahs / repositionMy Profile

        • It’s not more than I wanted to hear, honestly! My secret geekiness is a fascination about how things work and I like it when someone explains it to me in pretty plain English, which you did! Moira sounds like magic indeed!

  2. I love this week’s installment, needless to say! Romney is another great wool for beginners, and I have to be honest and admit that to date I have never gotten anywhere with the spindle myself, although I can spin on my three wheels just fine. 🙂 (Maybe I just like wheel spinning more. I need to give the spindle another chance for when I can’t take even my portable wheel along with me, though.)
    Beth recently posted..Possibly an odd book review on a pagan blog . . .My Profile

    • I tend to say that learning to spin on the wheel first is like learning to drive stick over an automatic first. 🙂 It’s totally possible! It’s just a bit more challenging and it’s a bigger investment. I haven’t spun Romney yet, but I’d like to. I find drop spinning better for charged yarn, personally.

  3. Oo! Oo-Oo-Oo! 😀
    My wife is making me a top-whorl drop spindle! 😀 😀 😀
    I have a little dowel and a whorl and a hook, and we just need to put them all together!
    And then I’m going to try spinning! 😀 (I got some mulberry silk blended with merino a looooooooooong time ago, and – because I’m possibly a twit – I want to start trying to spin using that particular fibre).

    I’ve been studying youtube videos to learn how. 😀
    Meliad recently posted..C is for Concentration – Pagan Blog Project 2013My Profile

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