Your favorite spinning accessory?

Aside from your wheel or spindle, what spinning tool is it hard to live without? Do you have a favorite distaff, lazy kate, orifice hook, or whatever?

The one I use most frequently is sheepskin treadle covers. When I’m wearing socks, I need them to keep my feet from slipping around on the treadles; and when I’m not, I need them to keep my feet from working dirt deep into the wood :stuck_out_tongue:

Tell me about yours. I love specialized tools!

Great topic. Am I allowed to mention two things? I will anyway! :slight_smile: I like a good sharp pair of tweezers–the ones by Tweezerman with sharp points, for picking out whatever should not go into the yarn. I keep them on a magnet attached to a ring that hangs from the brake band knob. Along with them, a Succaplokki wraps per inch gauge with the indented lines ranging from 7 to 60 wpi.

I just got a WPI wooden gauge with wooden indentations for Christmas and I am loving it! (It also has a couple of diz holes that I haven’t used yet, but am so glad for, since I don’t have any real proper diz). I love the idea of sheepskin treadle covers–that would be so warm in the winter. And never thought of a tweezers–handy idea! I keep a flat rectangular basket next to my wheel to store my current WIPs, my oil, scissors, etc. I also made my own niddy-noddy from PVC and I like it because I can turn it flat to store it.

And my dream tool to have–is a drum carder. Just can’t see forking over $400 for one!! (I do have a couple of hand cards I can use, but really, really want the drum carder)

Okay, so I think I really broke the rules–way more than 1 item, most of them aren’t real specialized, and I listed my “dream accessory”. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well 2020 has been a good one so far. I just received a lazy kate that I have been wanting for some time. Its called Anything but Lazy Kate. Its like a wooden box that will hold three bobbins and cones. Haven’t tried it yet but I’m sure it will be great for plying art yarns. And something that I have been wanting for a very long time , a dream for me just like @rkennell ,a drum carder. My DH wanted to get me this for my B-day a few months ago but I said no b/c of $$$$$$$$$ they are so expensive. So something has come up and I have been asked to do workshops on my fiber arts :eek:. Then my thoughts went into overdrive :rolleyes: and the drum carder would be great for the classes , blending fibers. So I took DH on his offer and ordered the Strauch Mad Batt’r Drum Carder today, OMGosh I’m excited about these :cool: tools. Dreams do come true!

Oh, I’m so happy for you, @Fiber Passion! And have fun teaching fiber workshops! I still dream of some day owning a yarn/fiber shop and doing workshops. Maybe I should just start by offering workshops in my home for teaching spinning and knitting and such! Then I could maybe justify the expense. I do live out in the country, so having anything out our way is a bit of a stretch for some people who are used to having everything in town. But that’s a thought!

I have heard that Strauch carders are well made. I would love to try one out. It is fun to watch people use them. One day I hope to get to a carding workshop by the Clemes family - have heard their classes are great and fill up fast. I can imagine you jumping up and down waiting for your big box to arrive.

@rkennell, I to have had the same thoughts of teaching in my fiber studios , we are in the country too. Even last spring my thoughts were of a fiber shop and offering classes from other teachers in town. But that’s a real commitment and I would lose a lot of the things I really enjoy, my woods, quiet, gardening, run around looking like a bum : ). But this new offer with teaching is so doable and no overhead to deal with. Just teach once or twice a month, shop the antiques and have lunch in a tea room and get back home. Its a small town that’s not very far from here and is packed with antique shops. I love the old town. I still have a family home based business to run so it won’t take much of my time away from that. Now if you want something bad enough you can make it happen and if you have that passion it will. Lots of work, good work involved and things will happen. Best to you in your adventure : )

@Carlota I talked to the owner Mr Strauch about his carders. Real nice family and helpful. Over the phone I knew they take special pride in their work. I just got a manual one, not ready for the motorized ones yet. Happy you bet , I was up tell 4:00 in the morning looking at drum carding youtube videos that I have seen many times before : ) It will take about 2 weeks to get, so for now I might just go out and do some snow angels from the 4 to 5" of snow last night.

Thanks for your insights. I have questioned, too, whether I am ready to be tied down to a store, especially on winter days. And I do like that we have the freedom to pick up and go, since we both work from home. And yes, we do a lot of the outdoor things as well in the summer, so having time to do them would probably not happen if I had a store, so I’m trying to decide whether it would be worth the sacrifice. Also, often when you turn your hobby into a business, it ceases to be a hobby and fun, because you’re busy trying to make income. So there’s that, as well. Maybe for now I will just look into offering my home for a evening to get together with friends and knit/spin/crochet, etc. and see if that leads to anything more. We’re now empty-nesters and I love having friends over. Maybe the next plan is to have a “tea and fiber evening” or something like that! Then if that’s successful, I could also offer some workshops for learning to do these skills. I am still a relatively new spinner (just started about 3 years ago, but I love sharing the joy of it!), but I have a fair amount of knitting and crochet under my belt.

Your offer sounds like a sweet one and I am so happy for you! Sounds like something I would totally love, as well. Best wishes to you on your new venture!

I think I saw a video or two by the Strauch family and I was impressed. One thing I noticed was the use of a teasing tool to open up locks. I had not seen that before but it made sense. I guess you already have plenty of fiber to feed it, right?

@rkennell Your gathering of friends at your home for tea and fiber sounds like a great way to get started and have fun. Your friends will love it, your beautiful country setting will keep them wanting more. Then you can see how things will take in directions that you will enjoy. Sharing and learning is to me the success in everything we do. Folks will be drawn to your passion. You got it all to give it a big time go! I’m excited for you :slight_smile:

@Carlota I found out today that Mr and Mrs Strauch sold their business. :eek:. The new owner is just as nice and helpful. Oh yes I got fiber but will need much more for the classes. So if you have a good fiber store you like plz let me know. Thanks

@rkennell I love your “tea and fiber evening” idea - sounds like a good way to spread the joy.
@Fiber Passion your teaching opportunity in the old town is right up my alley. I was in a small town today, in fact, visiting the thrift shop and an antiques shop. I came home with a huge bundle of knitting needles and crochet hooks for $2.

@Carlota – you had a great day! What a nice find, can never have to many needles and hooks ; )

How often do you use hand combs? I have a birthday coming up and thought a pair might be good, especially since space is tight and any fiber I buy will probably get compacted. I am looking at Heavenly Handspinning brand.

I am assuming you are not asking about hand carders, which overlap somewhat with hand combs, but which have their own uses and skills. I should also ask you first what kinds of fiber you like to spin. Hand combing is another rabbit hole with many tunnels.
I use my wool combs when I want to clean VM and neps out of washed sheep fleece prior to dizzing it into an aligned roving for worsted spinning, or when I want to tease shorter fiber prior to hand carding into rolags. I’ve just started getting into hand combing - from fleece that I washed. You asked how often we use them - as I am new to combing I may only be one step ahead of you, but I’ve already ordered my second set of combs. There are many types of combs available and they work best for specific types of fleeces and combing styles. Before I bought my first set, I watched as many videos as I could find on YouTube. Since combs are expensive, I had a good think about the fibers I prefer and whether I was matching the combs with the fiber. I soon saw the need for a second set, since the ones I bought first are quite small. Nothing wrong with them, just not quite as robust as I think I need for the current fleece, but this is stuff that is hard to know before your try. The more you can talk to other spinners and watch videos the more you will hear descriptions of what combs are best for what. The makers usually describe the types of fleeces that their products are designed for. I have learned quite a bit from TheNaturalSpinner, Soulful Spinning, and Josefin Waltin, all on YouTube. It’s all great fun, but there is so much to learn, and to a spinner, fiber prep tools are a bit like woodworking tools - very hard to only have one. I can send you some links if you can’t find the channels I mentioned. Good luck!

One more thing - you mentioned compaction - there are ways to loosen up the fiber without combing it. Pre-drafting, splitting, attenuation, sideways fluffing, spinning from the fold, hand carding - are some of the techniques that come to mind. I would not be combing a hand-dyed braid of commercially combed top, for instance, unless I had a good reason to, since it’s already combed into a spinnable format. I hope that helps - if you already have seen and know what combs do, then by all means go for it.

Hi @Carlota, Thanks for your input.
I have been taking all of the Classes on Craftsy/Bluprint and am also interested in some of the blending techniques in prep for worsted spun. I’m probably going to be dyeing unspun roving, and so far I’m liking Merino and Corriedale.