Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Few of My Favourite Things: Inexpensive, Portable Spinning Tools

A thread on Ravelry asked about tools a beginner spinner could make or buy without having to go to a lot of expense.  I've collected several go-to tools over the years; they cost next to nothing, work well for workshops and do their jobs efficiently.  Here's a look at my favourite, low tech tools.

A drawstring nylon screw storage bag from Princess Auto (cost $6CDN).  This bag will hold all the tools shown here and more:

The bag also makes a great caddy for my plying jars:

The plying jars once held non-toxic deodorizer, from Canadian Tire (about $5CDN).  Once the deodorizer was gone - it works well around the cat litter box, by the way - I washed out the jars, which are perfect for plying.  They have screw top lids and smooth slots through which to thread your yarn.  That's a PVC niddy noddy behind the jar.  It comes apart for easy storage, can be made to wind skeins of different lengths and does a great job of wet blocking hand spun singles for tapestry weaving:

When I don't want to carry combs, I use a dog stripper tool, a double-sided dog comb and a spice jar lid for a diz.  If I need a flicker or a set of carders for sampling, a pair of cat brushes works in a pinch:

This tiny scale is something I was given in a goodie bag at a conference.  It's my favourite tool; I clip my skein  on one end, suspend the scale from its ring and it weighs up to 100 grams/4 ounces of yarn or fibre.  It's accurate, too, corresponding with the weights I get when I use my triple beam balance scale.  You can buy the scales on line for about ($10CDN).  The protractor, used for measuring angle of twist, came from an old math set. It's a little hard to see, but there's a piece of plastic tubing in front of it, which slides over the hooks of my Tabachek spindles.  Edward provides the tubing with all his spindles to prevent damage, but a variety of tube sizes are available which will fit almost any spindle hook:

One of the best ideas ever for unwinding yarns from your spindles - a clamp with holes in the ends of the arms through which you thread a fishing snap pin.  Thread a swivel hook through the snap, hook the end of your spindle through the swivel and wind away.  The total cost for a set of 3 clamps, the snap pin and the swivel hook was around $5CDN at Canadian Tire.  This tip is courtesy of Edward and Jo-Anne Tabachek (so is the spindle shown here):

Embroidery floss holders, ($1CDN for a package of 25 cards) which I use as wraps per inch cards and as sample cards for my yarns.  I use paper holders, because I can write information on the cards:

Finally, a laminated yarn weight card our LYS used for calculating yardage. (I don't know the original source of the information.)  I don't use the card much to calculate  yarn weight.  For the most part, I use it to demonstrate the ranges of yardage possible when someone speaks of "worsted, lace weight," etc. yarn and why it's important to use more accurate measures when planning a project:

So, there you have it; a few inexpensive items which work well for a wide range of spinning needs.  They may not be as attractive or accurate as professionally made tools, but you can put a kit together for about $30 - $35CDN (less if you have things such as the dog combs and cat brushes on hand) and you won't cry if something breaks or gets lost. (Actually, I would cry if I lost that scale.  I've become rather attached to it.)


1 comment:

  1. great post! I've been spinning almost 30 years and you had some ideas I've not seen before.