My drop spindle that is stained green from my green fiber.
I was recently at the Carolina Fiber Fest and saw a booth with a few spinning wheels and price tags that let me know it would be a while before I could spin. I went to another booth to buy a book. In my peripheral vision I saw a woman at the spinning booth using this 12-inch stick thing to spin yarn. Unfortunately, it was time for me to leave and I didn't get to ask the woman what she was doing. I went home and searched online for something like, “spin yarn by hand.” I found dozens of videos for using the stick thing, which turned out to be a drop spindle.
That one demonstration has become a Pandora's Box for my fiber world. I watched every video I could find of people using drop spindles. This was my alternative to an expensive spinning wheel. I took a class for the drop spindle just last weekend. I haven't had much practice since the class, but I look forward to my next fiber purchase so that I can spin, spin, spin!
I wanted to show my drop spindle in case there are others interested in spinning yarn, but can't afford a wheel. I have seen some basic, but high quality drop spindles on Etsy for $10-$25 dollars. And then of course Etsy also has some gorgeous intricately designed spindles. A lot of yarn stores carry spindles and fiber and many spinning wheel manufactures make spindles. You can learn a lot from watching the videos available online, but nothing beats learning in person. I liked being able to ask questions and receive corrections.
Your first yarn probably won't be something that you can knit with, but you may be one of the lucky ones who picks it up right away. A spindle is not as fast as a wheel, but some use spindles exclusively. They are worth learning on because of their portability. I will take mine to some spinning groups when I get a little better.
My first 3-yard hank of handspun.
Do you already spindle or use a wheel? Or, may spinning be in your future?