My journey into making fiber tools began over sixteen years ago during the fancy eyelash yarn scarf trend. I started making #17 knitting needles for my wife, sister and friends. Our needles had shafts made from cherry and the caps were exotic woods such as Cocobolo. On a trip back from the Carolinas, we stopped at a fiber shop in Maryland. They loved my needles and asked me if I could make drop spindles. They also asked me if I had ever been to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which was in two weeks. Needless to say, this city boy had no idea that there was such a festival.
When I got back home to my studio, I decided to try my hand at making some drop spindles. I was soon to learn that even though they were absolutely beautiful, they were non-functional. The weight was wrong, the hooks were wonky and I had turned way too many details into the shaft, to the point where you could not remove the cop of fiber.
Two weeks later, I decided to go back to MD and attend the festival. I visited every booth that has spindles and was fortunate to meet Stefania Isaacson, who at that time was one of 17 people in the world with her advanced accreditation from the Spinning and Weaving Guild of America. Stef became my mentor and helped me to perfect my early drop spindle designs.
After making an initial batch of drop spindles to Stef’s specifications, she
introduced me to a few other fiber shop owners. The rest is history and I have been selling spindles ever since. By listening to my customers, I have been able to keep up with trends and make new products. This is how my Tibetan spindles, Nostepinnes, Niddy-Noddys, Orifice hooks, Orenburg spindles and our portable Kick Spindle all came to be. We now offer a wide selection of fiber tools that are made to the highest standards.
That summer, I also found out that Rochester had a very active spinner’s guild, named The Genesee Handspinner’s Guild. This group has spinners that range from beginners to professional spinners and instructors. The members have all been very supportive as they love beautiful handmade wooden fiber tools. They are my advisers, mentors, testers, customers and marketers. It is the expertise of these spinners that has helped me to perfect the design of our products.
About our drop spindles…
Beauty is only so good, spindles must be functional and perform the task at hand. Each of our whorls is turned 4 different times on the lathe and is unique in design. Most are rim weighted for longer spin times. As an example, if the top is flat or rounded down, then the bottom is hollowed. We put 4 notches in each whorl so the spinner has the flexibility to bring their fiber to the hook in the manner that suits them. Each of our hooks is hand formed into the “shepherd hook” shape. We even take the time to grind off the burr from the tip of the stainless steel wire. Hooks are tweaked into position and verified to be concentric with the centerline of the shaft by spinning on the lathe at about 2000 rpm. This ensures smooth spinning. The shafts are turned twice on the lathe, include a detail at the bottom for a half hitch and the length is determined using a mathematical formula based on the diameter and weight of the whorl. The diameter of the shaft enables high rpms for those that like to spin fast.
I make spindles in batches. They are sorted by weight: Mini are .5-1 oz, Standard are 1-1.5 oz and Maxi are 1.5+ oz. Wholesale orders are filled by weight, whorl shape and whorl woods so your customers have a wonderful variety of spindles to choose from. If you want to be able to offer great spindles to your customers, please contact me and I’ll be glad to discuss an optimum order with you. You will find I am easy to work with and try to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of your business. If you are a spinner looking to purchase a spindle directly for us, visit our on-line shop tcspindle.com.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Please take a look at the product galleries to see pictures and videos of our products.