Spinning Frequently Asked Questions

Q I'm buying a new wheel and am new to spinning. What else should I buy?

A If you've not spun before, I'd recommend getting a cheap drop spindle ahead of getting the wheel and learning the drafting action. It's quite difficult to get the hang of. With a spindle, you can 'park and draft' when you start - ie give it a spin, then park it between your knees and do a bit of drafting. that means you can concentrate on one thing at a time. Then when you've mastered that, spend some time just starting and stopping and treadling your wheel until you can do that without thinking about it, then put it all together. Trying to get used to all that at once is a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head.

I've just finished a video about getting started with a drop spindle. It shows the drafting action in close-up. That drafting action is the same whether you're using a spindle or a wheel.

Other essentials are:

  • Lazy Kate - all wheels come with a lazy Kate, some built-in, some free-standing. So you don't need to budget for it now, but in time you might like to get a better one, such as the competition lazy Kate.
  • Niddy noddy - simple but essential. It is possible to use the back of a chair, but much much better to spend a few pounds on one of these
  • Hand carders - if you're working with raw fleece, they'll be essential, if you're using prepared top or sliver, or want to mix colours or different types of fibre then they're good to have. There's info in the Ashford book of Spinning, but I love the Ashford book of Carding, it's a real inspiration.

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