In with a new category! This first “Spinning Spotlight” is on how I use my cross-arm spindles. It gives a few views into the simple word that I describe these photos with in my posts, the cop. Over the years, I have seen & read about how spinners approach this wind-on step. This is just one in what is a range of choices that we have.
How it starts & where we wind-up
The plum Aegean spindle is now full, and I started spinning with the sister Aegean in holly this morning.
The Aegean spindle cross-arms sit fairly high on the shaft but are lower than a mid-whorl. The arms are as I said in my last post remarkably stable at the start of the spin compared to the other keyhole construction. Let’s look more closely at that start.
Over two arms; under one arm
The standard winding path of over two arms, under one is what I first learned from “Productive Spindling” by Amelia Garripoli from Ask the Bellwether. I have always seen this method attributed to Wanda Jenkins.
As a stand-alone method it proved awkward for me in 2 ways:
- empty cross-arms chatter. Arms set in the keyhole formation feel less stable until the cop is built. It is fine to push through but I was going for a smoother spin; and
- wrapping under 1 arm each winding step builds down to the lower end of the spindle shaft. On a more bottom-whorl cross-arm spindle this affected my cop capacity.
In this & other learning curves, I took Amelia’s advice seriously. Here it meant thinking through how I wanted to wind-on both for the minimal movements as she suggested (ibid, p. 22) and these sticking points.
The expansion wind-on
Both challenges improved when I tried alternating with an under 2 arms; over 1 arm flight path for new makes. Here is what the cop building looks like on the Jenkins Lark with its long, curving cross-arms.
The underside has a lovely diagonal path. Since the filling spindle is where I find a sweet spot, I tend to continue finding ways to even the wind-on. It is no mandala meditation but plain old enjoyment of a spin.
This was my first spinning of the Zwartables on the Lark.
The leap from top-whorl drop-spindles to a knobbed low-whorl Jenkins Delight took getting used to. I am glad that I figured the flick start to be worth the extra effort. It was with BFL/silk by Sweet Georgia on rides into Toronto for appointments that I relaxed with the Delight spindle. I liked the carob wood, attention of the Go-train audience. Slowly I learned to slightly press the make during wind-on so that it moved the spindle around. This gave my wrists a break.
It may be worth noting that I only remove the shaft when clearing this style of spindle. The arms most likely can still come out if that’s your preference but I am not worried about that during my spinning. I wind balls from these as I would with any other spindle.
The yardage in these skeins
In the Zwartables project, I am now at around 796 yards. Two largest skeins were 165 yards for 38 g. The others are between 108 – 130 yards each. A Cheviot spin for socks on the Jenkins Delight did yield a single 190 yard skein but that was a bit of an outlier. I wonder how the Aegeans will compare?