The book (Spin It! by Lee Raven) covers top whorl spindling and also the use of hand cards (which is kind of cool!). She starts you with a bent metal stick (think, repurposed wire hanger) and moves on from there. It's a subset of her original work, "Hands on Spinning", which also covered wheel spinning, updated and with alot more pictures.
The handouts in the ebay spindle kit are available free from Spin-Off here.
Most on-line instruction covers top whorl spinning, so if you make your own spindles with toy wheels, dowels, and eye hooks, you can make both/either and go from there.
(posted by me this day on spinningfiber/livejournal)
Note to blog author:
Great blog! Thanks you.
By the way, the term 'bellwether' did indeed - and still does - apply to wethers.
When sheep were expected to forage for a living, the value of their wool make it worthwhile to keep them, especially when you consider that the wool of a whether typically stays finer that that of either an intact ram or a breeding ewe. Not long ago, in the current major wool producig county, Australia, flocks of whethers were kept for wool. (Since petroleum based articial fibers have erroded the wool market, this may no longer be the case, though the wool market is reportedly coming back.)
Bellwethers were also kept with flocks of ewes. If the collar became caught on something, the wether was not as much of a loss as a ewe, particularly a ewe in lamb.
An interesting observation is that rams, bucks, and wethers tend to be more reactive to potential threats than ewes or does. This would have given an earlier warning to the shepherd or goatherd. The lead ewe or doe might be expected to stand her ground longer, and a bell she wore might sound the alarm much later.
Of course, few in the US still herd sheep as they were for many thousands of years. Anyway, just a little more info for you.
The best to you!
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