Tag Archives: Supported Spindles

Getting ready for the Tour de Fleece 2015

All the info you could ever need about Tour de Fleece here.

The tour starts on July 4th, but I think I have figured out what I want to spin already. I will probably change my mind about it a bit (a lot) after we start. I hope to do daily picture posts (probably won’t have time to write much).

TDF spindles and fiber posing for a starting photo
TDF spindles and fiber posing for a starting photo

This is an awesome chance to spin some fiber from some of my favorite suppliers on some of my favorite spindles (and wheels – more about that at a later date).

So far I have fiber from Nunoco, The Double Ewe, Fondant Fibre, Hilltop Cloud, Porpoise Fur (forgot to include that in the picture), and Barber BlackSheep (picture below).

Spindles are from Mirkwood, Bristlecone, FWAussie, Malcolm Fielding, Turtlemade, Buckeye and Woodland Woodworking

I will also be spinning on my wheels (Little G and Big G).

Barber BlackSheep rolags and TexasJean spindles that I forgot to include in the group picture
Barber BlackSheep rolags and TexasJean spindles that I forgot to include in the group picture
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Spindle Spotlight: Neal Brand

So that update thing… not going too well. I have been a little nervous about updates since I did the Golding update and afterwards ended up destashing every spindle but one (the starfish). I think writing the post made me realize that I just did not use them enough to justify keeping them. Now I am giving it another try with spindles that I am almost sure I will keep.

Neal Brand “Shorties”: Zebrawood/Ebony, Tulipwood/Holly, Bloodwood/Ebony, and Black Palm/Ebony.

My Neal Brand tibetan was one of my first supported spindles. It seems that a lot of the good makers of supported spindles have quite a back log of orders, so it takes a while to get your spindle. Neal’s spindles are amazing quality, but he is also very fast. He usually has a monthly special in his Etsy store, and every time I have ordered; it has taken less than a month to get the spindle.

My first Neal Brand Purchase was a set of three tibetans and a bowl (this is the link to the original Etsy listing). One was a monthly special with an Ironwood whorl and a Wedge shaft. The other two were my choices of woods (Zebrawood/Ebony and Tulipwood/Bloodwood).

Neal’s spindles are incredibly well balanced and smooth (both surface and spin). They all have pointy metal tip, so I don’t use them in wooden bowls.

Neal brand spindles at work. The bowl is from Debs Fibers.
Neal brand spindles at work. The bowl is from Debs Fibers.

After trying the spindles out; I pretty much feel in love with their design and ease of use. They are very forgiving for a beginner. I thought it was really interesting that Neal is a math professor and has used that to optimize the design of the spindles (my brother has a PhD in math and I don’t see much in the way of spindles coming from that direction!). Neal is also very responsive and great to work with. I later ordered several other spindles in different lengths so I now have a quartet of shorties (around 9 inch length) and a quartet of “Longies” (around 11 inches in length). Both sets are wonderful.

For my latest order; I decided to let Neal pick out the woods and he made a couple of AMAZING spindles in Black Palm/Ebony and Olive/Canarywood.

“Longies”: Ironwood/Wedge, Lignum Vitae/Makore, Tulipwood/Bloodwood, and Olive/Canarywood

Neal also makes spindle bowls (I have two but they are hiding) as well as phangs and Russian spindles. I have held of on those so far since I prefer my phangs and Russians to have a less smooth surface than Neal’s spindles.

If you are looking to try out supported spindles; Neal’s tibetans is one of the best places to start. If you are picking woods; I highly recommend Bloodwood (somehow he gives it this amazing glow), Tulipwood, or Black Palm for the whorl. Neal makes these 3 woods look absolutely beautiful.

Spinning the Bin

Like many other spinners; I tend to accumulate quite a bit of fiber. It’s easier (a LOT easier) to buy fiber or yarn that to actually create something with it. In the Spin the Bin Challenge every spinner makes a commitment to spin a pre-determined set of at least 12 fibers from their stash. The spinning must be finished before the end of 2015. Furthermore each spinner can choose to donate the fibers from the bin that weren’t spun before the end of the year.

Here are the fibers I have committed to spinning this year:

My 2015 Spin The Bin fibers
My 2015 Spin The Bin fibers
  1. Fiber Quirks The Tarot Series Hand-carded Batts: The Star Merino 100g/3.5oz
  2. Porpoise Fur Rita’s Bedroom Falkland 115g/4.0oz
  3. Hilltop Cloud Robin Merino, BFL, Manx Loaghtan, Yak 100g/3.5oz
  4. Hilltop Cloud Blue Nile Merino, Corriedale, Tussah Silk, Stellina 100g/3.5oz
  5. Hilltop Cloud Carded Batt- Blue & Yellow Spinning Fiber- Merino, BFL, Alpaca 100g/3.5oz
  6. Undyed Polwarth approx 2.5oz
  7. Willow Fairy Wool Hearty – BFL, Silk 100g/3.5oz
  8. Fondant Fibre Meditation Norboo 100g/3.5oz
  9. Fondant Fibre Dakota Don’t remember the fibers 115g/4.0oz
  10. Garngalleriet Handcarded Batts Orange/Pastels Don’t remember the fibers 99g/3.5oz
  11. Homespun from Devon Cottage Garden – Hand Dyed Blue Faced Leicester Top/Roving 100g/3.5oz
  12. Porpoise Fur Wysteria BFL/Alpaca/Silk 115g/4.0oz

I have started on my #10 already and I am really enjoying it!

Garngalleriet orange and pastal batt being spun on a Mirkwood Gimli spindle
Garngalleriet orange and pastel batt being spun on a Mirkwood Gimli spindle