Wednesday, October 26, 2011


My first trindle. Still my favorite bead/arm set.
I love trindles. They are the most awesome.

Back in May I went to the MD Sheep and Wool Festival with the #1 goal of find myself a good spindle. Ideally it would not be terribly expensive so that I could also purchase some fiber goodness. The place is huge and there are zillions of vendors so I was a bit dismayed that we seemed to not find many spindle options at all.

I did notice the rather quirky trindles at Gales Art however. They struck me mostly for being sparkly and shiney. But they seemed almost more like little toys then a good useful spindle. Back in the biggest barn I ended up finding all of the spindle makers. By then however the options, the lack of time, and the price tags were getting to me. I decided to go with the "cheap" trindle and some fiber.

So back out we went and I made my selection. Turns out that the 'beads'/arms and the shaft are priced separately so it wasn't actually so cheap. Oops. But I went with the purchase anyway and made sure to leave with some awesome fiber as well. 

While waiting for my friend to make some purchases I found a bench and played briefly with my new toy. It was remarkably delightful to spin with. At home I kept going. I was making a super amazingly thin yarn and absolutely loving the way the trindle worked.

I wanted to learn more about my new awesome tool so I hopped onto Ravelry and found the Spinning Trindles Group! It was the perfect way to show off my new purchase and find out more information about these clever tools. Through the group I also became friends with Mrs. Trindleman, the moderater of the group and wife of the original creator. It was generally awesome.

Spinning hookless using a half-hitch.
Not everything was quite perfect however. Sometime towards the end of my first week I was getting a good bit of wobble in my spin. Looking closely it looked like the hook was at a bit of an angle. So I attempted to bend the hook back up right thinking it may have been from dropping as I was spinning (the tool is called 'drop spindle' for a reason). *Snap *. The shaft top splintered leaving the hook able to pull free. I was heartbroken.

For a time I was sad and left the poor spindle up on a high shelf afraid to do anything. I knew that Trindleman has an incredibly generous and easy return/fix policy, but it seemed so silly having broken it myself. But then I threw caution to the wind and started spinning with the broken spindle. I took the hook out entirely and just used a half hitch. Things were a bit slower but still worked just fine.

By this time however I was quite certain I needed more trindles in the house. I choose an Ipe shaft, hoping that the hard wood would be less susceptible to any damage I tried to impose upon it. And black goes with absolutely anything (including the hub and arms).  Then having my awesome lightweight beads/arms I choose the heavy weight malachite arms with gorgeous green swirls in them. So pretty.

 This 'heavy' set up spins just as well and does make it easier to add a bit of bulk to my spinning. But I really do trend quite thin in all I do so the tool only gets me so far towards worsted weight.

The trickiest thing about the trindles I've found is how to build the cop. As you can see in the picture on the left once things star getting pretty big the yarn bunches up around the arms at the top. I don't like this at all because it makes it easy for the yarn to get tangled when I remove it. And I can no longer remove the arms without a (small) fiber explosion.

I have however found some good solutions to this problem. Firstly I tend to spin in smaller batches. Around an ounce or so keeps things nice and easy. Although as I've become more comfortable I've found that I can get pretty close to two ounces now without a problem. But the most important strategy is to build up a good cop which is quite elliptical in shape. The bulbous center keeps most of the yarn while things are secured at either end tight against the trindle including the base of the hub, never reaching the arms. I accomplish this using the regular parallel wraps but also a good bit of up and down criss-crossing wraps that help secure everything in place.

During this time I also started thinking about this years Tour de Fleece/France. I asked Mrs. Trindleman if there was a Trindle team and when there was none she invited me to start one and declared me it's captain. Happy to oblige I set everything up and before long we had our own little team of Trindlers. At the Trindles shop they even added in this awesome TDF themed bracelet (along with some super discounts).

At the end of the TDF Mrs. Trindleman had everyone report in and awarded a number of prizes, including some amazing treats sent to me for putting everything together. She was absolutely insanely generous especially since I really didn't have to do anything more than start a thread, set up a google doc, and comment on lots of things :-)

My package included an amazing dyed purple silk hankie from Gale's Art. I absolutely love it and am so excited to spin it but want to actually find time when I can sit and enjoy it and not feel pressured to work on other projects. This totally cool flower bead/arm set. They're mid/heavy weight I think but they are flowers, how cool is that. AND they have a subtle sparkle. Rock on. But most awesomely she included a microtrindle. Coming in at 6 inches this little beauty is the epitome of easy travel spinning. Plus being so super lightweight the yarn is so super thin. (picture forthcoming if I can find it...)

Yea, I was totally spoiled.

These days I'm keeping my eye on the Etsy store in hopes of scoring a set of lightweight hematite arms. However it also seems like the store is so popular that it's hard to catch things in stock. An awesome problem to have I'm sure.

There is currently a contest going on at the Spinning Trindles Group on Ravelry. Just leave a comment on the thread for a chance to win one of the newest trindles that is soon to be released. These little tools are much too awesome to be missed!


WonderWhyGal said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I was in awe of your trindle work this summer and have now wanted one. I am definitely checking out their site and also the Rav group.

Spin on!

yarnyMarni said...

This post really makes me want to try my spindle again... I kind of gave it up because I wasn't "getting it". Now I want to "get it" so that I can try out a trindle!

Margo said...

Well I learned something new today. Thanks for the post and to WonderWhyGal for the link to your blog.

storiedyarns said...

What a great post!! The Trindle was for sure fun to spin, and I love the versatility of swapping out arms on the same tool!