teaching drop spindle spinning is that I never, ever feel guilty about purchasing different spindles and unusual fiber. I think it's my responsibility to familiarize myself with the full spectrum of tools and materials, so that I can at least say that I've tried them. I might not be the master, but I would be able to carry on a conversation and give my personal opinion of their efficacy.
A recent audio episode of Fiber Beat featured the wonderful Priscilla Gibson-Roberts talking about knitting, spinning and historical sock & sweater designs from around the world. At one point she mentioned that she prefers to spin with a horizontal draw because it doesn't stress her neck and shoulder as much as the more familiar and popular vertical draw. These draw/draft distinctions are described in her book, "Spinning in the Old Way" but I thought it would be fun to do a demonstration for a Fiber Beat Video Supplement.
Considering that Priscilla might be watching the video (after all, she did listen to the audio and gave me some lovely feedback), I wanted to make sure that the fiber as well the spindle were something special. I already had some dreamy A Verb for Keeping Warm baby camel/silk (50/50) in the "French Monk's Finest" colorway. All I needed was a new, yet different spindle.
I remembered that I had seen a Priscilla designed spindle somewhere online but I couldn't recall exactly where. There's tons of groovy web-based spindle makers and sellers so I had to narrow the field down to a few that I knew had good customer service and speedy delivery. Fortunately, I didn't need to search for very long.
I found two PGR designs for sale from Paradise Fibers in Spokane, WA. Both were collapsible spindles (i.e. the whorl comes off) and produced by Jorn Piel. I ordered both and they arrived within the week, just in time to record our video piece. The specific spindle I used was the Nordic top whorl design (pictured here) to illustrate the horizontal draw. Its whorl stays in place due to friction and a widening section of the shaft. It arrived with the whorl held in position from the bottom, but I actually prefer to set the spindle in from the top. To my eye, it spins more true and I can remove the whorl in the middle of a project.
The other design was a Cherry Lap Spindle (not sure why it's called that..) which features a screw on whorl. This spindle was much heavier (which I love) and the shaft was extra long (mind out of the gutter). I've since used both in classes and for World Wide Knit and Spin in Public day. I'm quite chuffed with the latest member of my fiber production family.