Spinning with a Kick Spindle
A kick spindle is a wonderful spindle to have. Below is the photo of mine, made by Spinster Spinning Wheels. It's called Mother Marion's Kick Spindle (or Mother Marion's Magnificent Spinning Machine) and they describe it as being named after the inventor's mother-in-law. I call it my kick spindle. This is the "Little Meggie" model, which is slightly smaller than their other "Mollie" model. The base is a solid 8 inches long, 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall. The main weight for the spindle is 4 inches in diameter. The overall spindle length is 18 inches. Please see the page Spinning Cotton With A Hand Spindle for basic drafting techniques that work with any spindle. Read on below for more about this spindle.
I purchased this spindle thinking I would spin cotton with it. It almost replaces a conventional spinning wheel because you can use either a foot or a hand to spin the main weight. By using a foot to create the spin, both hands are free for drafting the fiber. This is especially helpful when spinning cotton. I found though, that the twist ratio wasn't quite as high as I wanted in my cotton when spun with this spindle. I believe this is due to the angle at which the spindle sits, but in any case, the photos below show Mohair as the fiber used. The kick spindle is not at all something that needs a lot of time to figure out - it is very basic and much like any other hand spindle, and a pleasure to use.
I placed the whorl of the spindle as if this is a bottom-whorl spindle. Other photos I have seen show the whorl higher up on the spindle, and with the curved end up. That resembles a top-whorl spindle, and also allows for the storage of the yarn to go under the whorl, but above the support bar.
Below is a photo that shows threading the spindle. The blue yarn is a commercial yarn that I have tied to the spindle. I then took some of my carded Mohair and made a joining of the two by spinning the spindle main weight several times. Very simply, to use this spindle, you set it on either the floor or a table, and use either your foot or your hand to spin the main weight. The spindle sits in a ball bearing, so it easily spins. It is much like a traditional support spindle for cotton, although those are held up either by the spinner or by the tension in the yarn. This kick spindle eliminates the need for the spinner to support it.
After spinning for a bit to get the right tension in the yarn, I started to move the Mohair yarn down onto the spindle. This is exactly as it would be done with a hand spindle.
I did find that the Mohair tended to wrap the hook a bit, but that can happen with any hook or fiber.
Below is the spindle with some of my Mohair yarn moved down onto the spindle, and it is ready to be worked with the next time I spin.
This truly is an easy and convenient way to spin.
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