The Spinning Tool You Couldn't Live Without

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one fiber tool, what would it be?

Kate Larson Aug 27, 2019 - 2 min read

The Spinning Tool You Couldn't Live Without Primary Image

A book charkha and some punis would make a perfect tool for a desert island: easy to carry, and the cotton singles would be the perfect yarn. Photo by Kate Larson

Soon after I first learned to spin, I moved into a tiny cabin on a farm in northern Vermont with my husband. In our 12' square unplumbed cabin, we made space for my most important possession: a new Ashford Traveller spinning wheel. I adored that wheel and still do; it’s the wheel that made me a spinner.

In the Fall 2019 issue of Spin Off, the Desert Island Tool issue, we asked what you just couldn’t do without or leave behind. Authors from around the world answered this question in many ways. Amy Tyler and Emily Wohlscheid both shared ways they are adapting their favorite blending tools to expand the fiber effects they can create.


To get the most from your blending board, you might want some tulle, shelf liner, and a scrub brush. Really. Photo by Matt Graves

A beloved “tool” can manifest in different ways. Josefin Waltin explores the tool that connects us all: twist. After all, twist is the fundamental tool we use to create strength, shaping wool as a woodworker might use a chisel. But how we sit while spinning is also important. Mary Egbert discusses the significance of posture to help you find a seat that is right for you.

Some of us become attached to our fiber tools, while some spinners are more focused on the process and product. However, I think most of us are connected by the contentment we feel when holding a tool that fits perfectly in our hand and whose use feels like an extension of our own bodies.

What’s your desert island tool?

Kate Larson sig

Kate Larson is the editor of Spin Off and spends as many hours as life allows in the barn with her beloved flock of Border Leicesters.