You'd never think that spinning your own yarn could be a subject fraught with drama, would you? I certainly didn't, back in 2010 when I made the decision to either learn to spin or sell my only remaining spindle (bought the year before along with three spinning wheels, which were later sold because I couldn't figure out how to use them.)

Initially, I purchased a few drop spindles made by 3GWoodworks on Etsy because I didn't have much money and while I had made some myself, they didn't really work well as drop spindles (when I discovered supported spindles, they were perfect, however.) Perusing Ravelry exposed me to many spindle makers, most of which were way out of my budget. The ones made by 3GWoodworks. were pretty, extremely reasonable considering the prices I saw from other makers, made very well, and spun quite nicely. I would still recommend them. (In fact, if Elsa keeps up her interest in spinning, I will buy her one to keep here...)

A few months in, however, I discovered supported spindles and, specifically, Lisa Chan of Grippingyarn.com. The spindle I had made worked quite well for supported spindling, so by mid-2010, I had quite a collection, and it was still going strong by the end of the year.

I never quite counted all of my spindles. When I purchased a new one, I'd start something on it, and rarely finish. I ran out of room to store spindles, so I added more vases and places to stick them. I destashed ones I didn't like or wasn't using. At the same time, I bought spinning wheels. Many, many spinning wheels. I had it bad, the spinning obsession. Or, rather, I had the acquisition obsession quite badly.

And then came 2011. Juggling credit card payments. An office move that meant more money out of my pocket and less time at home. I couldn't use the credit cards anymore, so everything needed to be paid out of my paycheck or by selling stuff--and boy, did I sell stuff. I culled my spindle collection and then culled it again. I kept only my absolute favorites. I cancelled all outstanding orders. I sold spindles that I made (and kept my prices low, because I still can't believe what some makers charge, and I'll get to that point in a minute here.)

In March of 2012, probably because I had survived the previous horrible year, I bought a glindle. A glindle is a specific type of supported spindle with a glass tip--think of a marble with a tip--in many colors and styles and shapes. Mine was one of the lower-end, price-wise, just a plain shaft with a four-leafed clover theme. If I remember correctly, it cost $54, and that was a big chunk of my spinning budget. (In the same package was a stowaway bumblebee glindle, so I had two of them at one point.) I also purchased a few others from a new maker--TwistedGrain on etsy (and still remains one of my favorite makers) that year, but no more glindles, because in all honesty, they were out of my budget.

And I was beginning to realize that the spindles I made worked just as well as the spindles I bought, and if I stopped buying spindles, I could then buy more fiber to spin (which all comes out of the same small budget.)

I haven't actually purchased a spindle since March of 2013. I've destashed a few others, including the glindle, and kept my favorites. I also started a project in 2014 to fill up all the spindles I owned (which has taken longer than it should have because I also kept making them for myself, and I actually didn't spin much in 2014), and I pretty much left all but four groups on Ravelry because I really needed to concentrate on other things, like decluttering my house and keeping up on the garden, and oh yeah, the fact that I should have been writing instead of buying all these spindles in the first place...

So to make a really long post a bit shorter, I've been away from spindle drama for a while. I'd see dustups here and there, and hear mention of stuff, but I really didn't have time to dig deep and figure out what was going on. New groups were made, and I was invited to the new groups; I found new indie dyers to buy from, and I kind of stayed on the fringes, because my budget hasn't grown much and I still couldn't afford to buy multiple expensive tools even if I wanted to take the time to figure out where to buy them or snag one in a destash.

Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful things, but I'm perfectly happy with my aluminum and bamboo straight knitting needles and set of Denise interchangables, for example. I did buy one pair of knitting needles from an actual maker of knitting needles, but they were only $20, so I can't really say I broke the bank.I'm perfectly happy with the tools I have and have made, and my spinning wheels for when I want a change from the spindles. (And at the moment, I own four spinning wheels. Which is too many, but they are all useful to me, so they stay.)

Anyway, over the past months, I've heard darker murmurings among the Ravelry groups. There have been more frequent arguments and cries of foul play. I've managed to stay out of it for the most part, until now. And when I finally delved into the depths of it, I kind of wish I'd stayed away, because I'm pretty appalled at how some spinners have acted, and how others have responded, and how no one seems to realize that the market for spinning tools is very, very small, and while there are new spinners every day, the majority of people still think we're weird and old-fashioned.

I'm not going to go into detail here. I'm not going to rehash the arguments (all of which have valid points) or the bad feelings all around, because this post would then be pages long. Heck, I could probably manage a short novel out of it, but I really don't have time to even begin.

But guys--everyone--they are tools. Pretty tools, yes, but still tools. And you don't need a thousand of them, or a hundred of them, or even fifty of them. Or even twenty. Hoarding isn't a good thing. Buying something just for the sake of ownership also isn't a good thing. Believe me. I've been there.

Use the ones you love and destash the others. They don't have magical properties. The spindle karma police are not going to arrest you for destashing the ones you don't love. Be fair, too. Don't gouge your fellow spinners just because something is a hot item. (Although if someone is stupid enough to buy one for an exorbitant price, then go for it.)

Please remember that you are an adult, too, not a twelve-year-old child denied yet another Barbie doll. Shrug and move on. There are other spindles, other makers, and frankly, other hobbies out there to peruse.

This entire argument is giving spinners a bad name. And I stand by my declaration that the whole thing is ridiculous.

I no longer own my glindles. I gifted the one that was a gift to someone else, and I destashed the other one. My Twindle (from the same maker; another hotly contested commodity) also flew away from the nest. Since I'd stayed away from spindle buying for the past few years, I never was one of the exalted. Honestly, I prefer wooden spindles. And since I still have too many spindles (most of which I've made), I'd rather buy fiber anyway. And maybe finally finish the 'fill all the spindles' project this year.


Grey Walker said…
I've liked watching your spinning odyssey over the years. Seeing your gorgeous pile of filled spindles feels like seeing the heroine arrive. :)
Jennifer said…
I've enjoyed learning. And finding something I can do while writing, too. :)

Popular Posts