Spinners are a spontaneous bunch. When I pack my bags, jump on a plane, and head across the country to teach spinning workshops, I never know exactly where I might end up: tramping through sheep pastures or enjoying knitting and cocktails at a restaurant. Fiber road warrior is an interesting lifestyle! More than a dozen years of spinning travel has given me time to fine-tune my travel gear.
I wrote about a few pieces of spinning equipment to leave at home. Here are some essential items to add to your suitcase that you might not expect.
Travel Hacks: What Spinning Equipment To Pack
1. Teetotaler’s spindle tin
Many of my friends use Scotch or wine canisters for safely transporting spindles. They work really well but are often far too big for me to include in my suitcase or daypack. While visiting San Francisco, I found a paper-wrapped, metal tea canister that perfectly fits one of my favorite small spindles. Canisters like this can often be found at Japanese groceries or teashops. My 2-inch Golding Ring Spindle fits perfectly with a bit of fiber in my canister (21/4” x 8”), which I can easily drop into my purse or safely pack into my suitcase.
2. Mesh bags
Strange, but an essential piece of my travel gear! These zippered lingerie bags are a great way to transport locks and spinning fibers so that they don’t get trashed by TSA luggage checks (ask me how I know), but these are more breathable and reusable than plastic. The best part, however, is that they are just the thing you need if you want to wash some fleece, safely dip some roving into an indigo vat, or strain some lichens out of a dyebath.
3. Pocket-Size Vaseline and powdered graphite
I’ve traveled many miles with spinning wheel oil bottles, but I avoid the risk whenever possible. I prefer petroleum jelly and powdered graphite. You can find tiny containers of Vaseline among the many lip-balm options at a pharmacy. Vaseline can be used on the shaft of your spinning wheel (check your wheel’s care guide or ask a retailer) or on a charkha spindle. Powdered graphite is great for many wood-to-metal connections, such as treadle bars. Many of the persistent squeaks that are hard to remedy in spinning workshops can be solved with powdered graphite. It is also recommended by some antique wheel restorers because it doesn’t soak into the wood the way oil does.
Originally published July 2018.