Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some more additons to my fiber equipment - a Mother Marion Kick Spindle and a Lazy Kate

Although I consider myself primarily a traditional feltmaker and always will, I have decided that I'd like to become a more well-rounded fiber artist.  Part of this endeavor is to learn to spin yarn.  I had a spinning class a little while ago and realized how much I enjoyed the process of making hand spun yarn.  Unfortunately, I can't afford a spinning wheel right now.  I just invested in a beautiful Fancy Kitty drum carder and must wait a while to purchase a wheel.  In the mean time, I am making some smaller investments on fiber equipment including a kick spindle and a lazy kate.

I have used my drop spindle off and on, but I feel a bit uncoordinated on it so I decided to invest in a Mother Marion style kick spindle from Heavenly Hand Spinning.   I bought their Little Meggie in Oak kick spindle.  I've only used it a few times now and am still adjusting to how it feels.  It is faster than my drop spindle and allows both of my hands to be free for spinning so that I can practice drafting as you would on a spinning wheel.  I personally like to use it standing up and kick the spindle with my right foot.  It is a bit of a balancing act at times, but undoubtedly a great workout too.  Overall, I like my experience with the spindle so far.  It is quite heavy though and a bit clunkier feeling than using a drop spindle.  It will slide around if you don't brace it well.  I put plastic furniture tabs on the bottom of mine to keep it in place on my hardwood floors as I use it.   It also has a tendency to tip and slip out of its ball bearing.  These, in my opinion, are very minor design flaws considering the overall craftsmanship and beauty of the piece.  I think the base could be wider to avoid the instability.  I may end up attaching it to a wider board myself eventually.  For now, I am satisfied with my kick spindle.  It is a happy medium between using a drop spindle and a spinning wheel.  The truth is that I'd prefer to just have my own spinning wheel right now.  Eventually, I will, but there is some saving of funds to do first.  If you are in the market to buy a kick spindle, I recommend checking out this blog post by Knitting Dragonflies.  It has information on different kick spindle brands as well as a good review of how one works.

The other piece of equipment that I purchased is a handmade lazy kate from a little shop on Etsy called bigfam15.  It is made out of recycled oak from a church pew.  (I just love that!)  It was also significantly less expensive than comparable name brand lazy kates on the market.  I must say that it doesn't sacrifice any quality though.  It far exceeded my expectations in its craftsmanship, functionality, and overall beauty.  It also shipped very quickly and was well packaged with a sweet hand written thank you note.  This lazy kate was completely worth the money and an absolute little gem of a find if you ask me.  I have tinkered with it a bit and really look forward to using it with my hand spun yarns.

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