What do you teach in Beginning Spindling?

Teaching has to be fun -- so this class is "I Wanna Spindle!". The class goal is for people to be comfortable with their spindles, have the rudiments of drafting down, and be able to ply -- they walk away with tips to help them keep spinning, information on how to finish their very first handspun skeins, and their first (or in some cases, second!) spindle.

Taught: most recently, OFFF 2007, Jefferson County Farm Tour (@ Ananda Hills Farm) OCt. 2007.
Teaching next: NwRSA 2008.

When I have limited time (20 minutes) and a very young/high energy group (my son's or daughter's classes, for example), we focus on spinning a single, then folding it in half to make a stable length of yarn. They get a length usually long enough (and thick enough, wink) for a bookmark, and are quite happy with it.

With a group of students whose goal is to learn to spin, I use the following format, based on my book, Spindling: The Basics.

Choosing a Spindle

  • size, shape, and weight

Choosing Fiber

  • Preparation
  • Wool or?
  • Which wool?
  • Staple length
  • Drafting Fiber

The Leader / Balance

Park & Draft

  • Hand placement
  • Draft triangle
  • Wind on
  • Thick spots
  • Joins


  • Preparing to ply
  • Balanced yarn
  • Combine twirl and draft


  • Niddy-noddy
  • Figure-8 ties
  • Wash/hang
  • Twisting Up a skein
  • Store as skein

Also great resources for learning to spindle-spin abound on-line:
ispindle.com -- terrific videos
interweave.com/spin -- see their section "resources" for great articles & handouts
joyofhandspinning.com -- great videos
Carol Cassidy-Fayer's Drop Spindle Instructions
Handspinning on YouTube -- collection of videos on a variety of spinning topics, great drop spindle videos!

Along with the two spindle-focussed spinning lists, spindlers and spindlitis, and the learning to spin list, spinning_camp, all on Yahoo groups.

There's also the Livejournal Spinning Fiber community, and the spinning Knitty style forum on Knitty.

Do you teach drop spindling? Or have you recently learned? What advice would you offer? Post it in the comments here or contact me. Thanks!


Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

Oh yes ... the "ad" for this class! Very important ;-) here it is as used for OFFF 2007:

Never spun before? Want to learn an inexpensive way, or want to have the world's biggest spindle collection? Then come and learn how to spin on spindles! We'll start from the beinning, rolling wool on our legs, and proceed through spinning singles and on to plying.

Class length: 3 hours. Materials provided: top whorl spindle, fiber, and instruction book. Students bring: sense of fun and love of learning.

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

Teacher bio also important, eh? Here you go:

The shortest form:
Amelia Garripoli "fell" into spinning when a new home came with two llamas. Now, her spindle collection fills the bookcase!
See more about her at http://thebellwether.com/.

Or, longer: Amelia Garripoli grew up knitting, baking, and trying almost every craft except spinning. Amelia "fell" into spinning when she purchased a house that came with two llamas. Since then, her spindle collection has taken over the bookcase! Amelia runs The Bellwether, a specialty spindle and fiber shop on-line and at local shows. She is the author of Spindling: The Basics, and is an active mentor in several online spinning groups, including Spindlers and Spindlitis. Amelia teaches workshops, private classes, and classes at her local yarn shop.