Thursday, July 12, 2007

should i do it? advice, please

so if i am willing to part with a bag and a half of silk garden, some straight needles that i never use (apart from doubling as flower stems), and some learn to knit booklets that i have buried somewhere, i have an opportunity to get

a barely used Babe's Fiber Garden double treadle Fiber Starter wheel, used for about 1 month and sitting in a corner for about 14 months: My wheel is black. Original price is $237.00

Babe's wheels get excellent reviews as starter wheels and are very lightweight and portable:

I've got the wheel, a kniddy-knoddy, spindles, instructions, oil, some enthusiastically yellow wool sliver for practice and, if you want, a bag of cotton bolls from a friend, plus a couple of spinning books I bought in the first flush of spinning excitement.

should i do it? and none of this, "noooo, get this most excellent and wonderful wheel instead!" i'm on the fence about wanting to spin in the first place. it's either this or nothing.

my pros are: um, being able to spin my own yarn. that's pretty cool, right?
my cons are: i just started up a complex new hobby that i so far completely blow at. do i really need another one? my understanding is that the learning curve for spinning is fairly steep.

opinions are solicited. Help!

oh yeah, i should add that i own a drop spindle that bronwyn gave me, but i've never used it because i don't get it, and i'm scared.

well, i decided to go for it. don't worry--i have one more bag of silk garden in my stash to love/hoard. i guess we'll see what happens when it gets here.


  1. First, I think you quilting is coming along fine.

    Spinning, I love it. I love my wheel. I bought a nice one for the very reason of spinning my own wool for most all my projects from here on out. To me, it is not hard to learn at all. It just takes a little practice. Have you spun on a drop spindle? If so, you can spin with a wheel, because wheel is so much easier and faster to boot!

    I bought a cheapo Ashford Student drop spindle at my LYS for $9.00 or so. I could have went to Lowes or Home Depot and got the dowel rod and disc of wood and made it for probably 1/2 that.

    It's easy, but I will not say to go for it, because that's your decision to make alone.


  2. Well now that's a pretty darn good deal! I say go for it! If you love spinning, you'll have a great starter wheel to learn and grow with. If you don't, you can always trade or sell it later.

  3. I don't know, not being a spinner. But you asked for opinions. It's a great deal, but if you've never used your drop spindle, I would say don't get a spinning wheel. Think of how much space it will take up. And if you get into spinning, you'll have to buy roving, and that takes up space too. Just my 2 cents.

  4. I think it's a pretty good deal. I will say that if you like spinning a lot, you will probably end up getting another wheel later on. However, since you're not sure about spinning yet, this seems like a nice way to try it out.

    How much do you love your bag and a half of Silk Garden? That would be the crucial thing for me.

  5. Don't know the first thing about spinning, so I can't help ya there. However, I am loving all your banners.

  6. Well, I'm even trying to learn myself! Would SO love my own wheel. I'm lucky, my friend Bula has graciously lent me her wheel (though now that she's moved I may not have it for much longer! LOL)

    Anyhow, I'd say GO FOR IT! :)

  7. I would go with it because if it sucks, that's one of the cheaper wheels and you won't be out a ton of dough. But then people could say "But you didn't like it because you were doing it on a cheap wheel!" This theory holds true with beer, but spinning wheels? Hmmm...I dunno! Lot of help I am!

  8. I love spinning too, so... but I think the learning curve is a lot less steep than you think -- you can make decent looking yarn early on, but when you want to make a really consistent specific type of yarn, sometimes that takes a little more time.

    I find spinning on a wheel to be easier and more immediate than on a spindle.

    I think it's a good deal, and worst case you can always get rid of the wheel later... ;)

    Take a look at the handspun group on flickr -- -- it's inspirational. Look there, then try not to trade for the wheel. :)

  9. I would pass. Go find someone to teach you how to use your spindle first. It's so much easier to learn from a real live person than by yourself. Then you can decide if you like it or not. Then try out a few wheels before getting one. Just my 2 cents.

  10. i agree that a wheel is easier than a spindle, but i have tried both and haven't got the bug myself. though i think it's because of kids and work and no time. if you aren't going to use the silk garden, it's a free wheel (cost is already sunk). if you hate it you can trade it for some other yarn.

  11. First the disclaimer: I don't spin and have no desire to learn how. If you can bear to part with the Silk Garden yarn and other accessories to get the wheel, I would suggest giving it a shot because the fact that you are considering the trade means that you are curious. If you don't at least try, it will keep popping up as a possibility. At best, you'll really like it and eventually get a better wheel. If you don't like it, you can always trade it (and all the roving you bought to got with it) for yarn or fabric.

    I think your quilting looks good and is quickly improving so don't give it up yet.

  12. I think you made the right decision. You won't know how you like it until you try it. Plus, you seem to really pick up new techniques well (case in point: your new quilt).

  13. I'd try the spindle first. It takes a while to get it, but honestly, there's nothing to be afraid of. Just expect your first yarn to look a bit weird and lumpy. You'll get it eventually.

    Your quilting is fabulous. Since we're already talking about things that are cool yet scary... that's the one I've been too scared to try.

  14. My instinct is to go for it, but this is coming from someone who would like to learn to spin but is putting it off as long as possible, so you may not want to listen to me. I might just want to live vicariously through you ;D

  15. I am glad you decided to do it! I wanted to tell you to go for it, but if you end up disliking it, I didn't want to be one of them that said go for it! :)

    I believe you will enjoy it. It just takes practice. Go to interweave press and look up the free stuff on how to spin. It is good information. Also, if you are so inclined, you can get a free issue of Spin on there. I am doing that. If you don't like it, you can cancel.




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