What tools are really needed to spin handspun yarn?

I recently received a comment regarding the cost(s) of fiber spinning. It went the way it usually goes when one’s knowledge is quite limited concerning the fiber arts and been misled. If you believe it’s expensive to spin yarn, then you need to sit down awhile and mull it over a bit because it’s a lot of work that happens to have huge rewards that are worth the time and effort!

A spindle, two handmade nostepinnes, and a paddle spinner

When I started out, it was at edge of the shearing floor, swiping scraps of wool deemed unfit by the sorters and trying to spin it on a rock spinner I’d made. I was 8 years old. Grandpa saw me and asked if he could see my ‘yarn’. He smiled and told me to keep at it. I felt glad knowing he liked it so I spun a few more yards by dinner.

Two Navajo spindles I made from oak dowels and wood cookies about 15 years ago.

A few days later I was sweeping up the shearing floor and was putting the bigger pieces I thought I could spin into my pockets. Grandpa told me to come to the workshop (the keep in the barn) when I was finished. He’d handmade a wonderful wood spindle for me and the cost was the few yards of yarn I had spun with the rock.

A paddle spinner made by a dearly loved, departed friend; Icelandic lamb fleece

Fast forward several years. The tools needed to spin yarn need not cost anything, except the time and resources available around you. You don’t need anything expensive. You don’t need fancy. You can make most of the tools required. The fiber you want to spin can be acquired for low cost or free. It may not be optimal, but if you’re willing to put the effort into working with it, it will be a worthwhile experience.

A spindle made by a wood turner in TX, a maple nostepinne I made 20 years ago, and a maple nostepinne I made today

I spin on spinning wheels I’ve restored and/or repaired, as well as, many types of spindles. There have been times throughout my journey, when I’ve sold the wheels to pay bills or to add to savings for special purposes or needs. It’s part of life. I can always spin because I know how to make spindles. I know how to use a pair of inexpensive dog slickers as carders. I know how to make hackles from scrap wood and old nails.

A pair of 10 year old dog slickers I’ve been using to card super fine Icelandic lamb fleece

All that said, it’s a lot of work sorting and scouring fleece, carding it, dyeing it before it’s spun or after it’s been spun. Yes, I enjoy doing this. I know where the fiber comes from, what it’s being washed/dyed with, and I’m happy and proud to be able to.

This is not the end. Get busy and make somethin or do something!!! It can be anything….