Bitten but not bit.

Over the course of the weekend at Knit City 2016 earlier this month, which I shared in depth about on Episode 40, I had the chance to wander through the Ancient Arts Yarn booth several times due to it’s proximity to the SweetGeorgia Yarns booth where I was spinning. The Ancient Arts booth is one I always check out even though they aren’t dyeing fibre anymore, much to my disappointment even though I completely understand the reasons! The first day of the festival was intense – there were people everywhere and to say it was hectic is an understatement. The energy in the air was palpable. On Sunday, though, the mood was relaxed and calm. People were speaking more quietly, gone was the rush of Saturday’s hustle. Again, I had a chance to wander through the Ancient Arts booth, perusing and admiring. I had seen the Russian support spindles the day before but hadn’t been able to get close. In the Sunday calm, I picked one up again and immediately fell in love with the weight and feel. I have a support spindle at home but it is made for lace: fast and quick. I have never quite been able to get the hang of it, even with some help from one of my spinning mentors.

At Fibres West last Spring, I made the mistake of only buying two of the spindles I had wanted, which doesn’t bode well for the spinner who mostly makes 3-ply yarns. This time I learned my lesson and, while I was tempted to put one of the spindles back, I stuck with my gut and bought three. Thank goodness because now I have a project on each one.

From my stash, I’ve been spinning a bunch of punis-style rolags from when I had first bought my blending board. These were originally listed in my Etsy shop and I pulled the listings down after the 3 month timeframe with the intention of spinning them on my spindles … which I never did. Now is the best time to start delving into these projects and for the first time ever, I am loving spinning these things. I guess they were waiting for me to be bitten by the support spindling bug because MAN! These are amazing on a support spindle.


These are a blend of Merino, Corriedale, neps and Camel down.

I had had much difficulty in the past with support spindling which I mentioned above and the key piece of advice I stumbled across that got me going? Switch hands. That’s it. Yes, drafting with my non-dominant hand feels awkward but the flicking on the spindle doesn’t with my dominant hand. Slowly, I’ve become more and more proficient at drafting out, long draw, with my none-dominant hand and it is working like a charm. Who knew some random bit of information on The Internets would help so much?!

Have you tried support spindling? Do you have any advice to share or learning road blocks?

Until next time,


Join the Conversation

  1. No advise. Except pre-drafting bats or roving into little nets helped me. I haven’t played with punis yet.
    Love the idea of the switching hands simple experiment can make such a difference.

  2. Hello Rachel. I just bought a supported spindle and bowl after watching Emily of the Fibretown podcast ( She makes it look so easy of course! I am having some trouble with it but practice, practice, right? I am using some of your punis that I purchased from your Etsy shop long ago so we can practice as kindred spirits! Thank you for your podcast! Jean

  3. Cookgoalie says:

    Great that you are enjoying your new spindles. If I have made a good choice I find new tools very motivating and inspiring.

  4. Christine Velleman says:

    According to Amelia Garripoli who has a video on support spinning, (thru Interweave) you should spin a wooden spindle with a ceramic bowl and a metal spindle with wood. Have to say this works for me

    1. That’s really helpful – thanks!

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