Handdyed Fibers, Handspun Yarn & Handwovens

The Current Stable of Tools I Use

As I’ve written about the tools I use below, it began to resonate like a ‘what you need’ list for a project, and I don’t think that is a bad thing.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve joked with other fiber artists about the slippery slope of acquiring equipment.  I had limited funds when I began my cottage business and as things sold I was able to re-invest in additional tools as needed, or wanted.   Starting out, it might have been helpful to see a list of the essentials and then the other things that certainly serve a purpose I might not have thought about.

I will be adding a section on the bottom about tools I used to own that I’ve sold.  It might be helpful in understanding why something didn’t work or was no longer a good piece of equipment for me.

If you have questions about any of these tools, head to my Contact page and fill out the form.

Bobbin Winders

I have both a Swedish winder to fill a bobbin by hand and an electric one. I bought the electric one off Ebay from a gentleman that builds them himself and uses a sewing machine motor and pedal.  It works beautifully and has for more than four years now.   I have the Swedish one for traveling.  My wind is slower than the electric but lighter and more compact for packing.  Be advised: I was given a Swedish one and tried to use it, only to realize the metal pin tapered and wouldn’t hold onto my “normal” bobbins. They fit but it doesn’t fit tight and so doesn’t grab them, the bobbin just spins and no winding of thread occurs.  I assume it is specifically for pirns and will be putting it up for sale soon.  I purchased another after paying attention that the stem is thick enough to fit and catch my bobbins.


I use a variety of shuttles but there is one worth mentioning.  The Schacht slim open-bottom shuttle is wonderful.  I was at a weaving workshop at Yarnorama in Paige, Texas, and found it.  When the owner told me it was narrow enough to pass through the shed of my rigid heddle loom I squealed out loud. No joke, I got a lot of looks, and I’m not a squealer.  My floor looms have plenty of shed space but being able to use  a shuttle and bobbin instead of the stick shuttles is AMAZING.  Next on my radar is a double bobbin shuttle. Be still my heart.

Finishing – fringe twister, darning needle

Lendrum Spinning Wheel



Carrying Bag


Blending Board

I have often described this to others as a poor woman’s drum carder.  For me, that is what it was.  Getting my business going meant I didn’t have a spare $600+ laying around to spend on a drum carder.

Carding and Combing – drum carder and hand cards, viking combs


Niddy Noddy.  Ball winder.  Swift.

Acid Dyes

Many people ask me about what dyes I use.  I have begun to think more about natural dyes, but frankly for speed, number of steps, color fastness, and economy (I need a teaspoon of dye powder versus significantly larger quantity of raw natural dye), and vibrancy of color, I currently use acid dyes.  Sourced from Jacquard, ProChem, Wash Fast, Dharma.  I have my favorites and at this point know which oranges are browner or more pumpkin than more coral or salmon.  The best way to learn the color leanings of particular color is to buy and use it.  Also, early on I did follow the idea of obtaining primary colors and then you can make whatever you want.  While this is true, it became a big pain in the arse.  Slowly I began to add in different actual browns, or variations of purple or blue or reds and it made my dyeing life much more fun and enjoyable.  I have chosen to use vinegar instead of citric acid because it is easy for me to obtain wherever I am in any grocery store.  If I pour it on myself or spill, it is just vinegar and I don’t worry about it.

Dye Pots

Early on, I used an enamel roasting pan I found at Goodwill.   The price was right.  However, what I saved on the cost of the pan I paid for in time and worry making sure the area was spotlessly clean afterwards.  I couldn’t afford a hot plate at the time so used our stove top.  Of course the pan was used only for dye, but my concern was making sure my dye spoon rested on a tray not on the counter and that the few drips that happened were scoured clean.  When I realized dyeing was going to be a regular thing for me, I found a used crock pot at, yes, you guessed it, Goodwill.  I’m still using that one, but also ordered another, all with white bottoms.  Let me stress, WHITE bottoms.  You can see your dye exhaust and I can’t stress how important and helpful that is.  I plug them in on a table in a sideroom or basement away from the kitchen and eating area so it makes it easy to keep the ‘chem lab’ (as my husband calls it) separate.

My Favorite Places to Find Used Equipment

The Spinners Marketplace on Ravelry.  You’ll need a Ravelry account to look around and communicate with Users.  You will also find EXCELLENT info here in the forums on review of equipment.

http://teaherbmilksoaps.com/FEBPspinning.html (Sometimes there are not many items listed, but you never know.)

http://www.homesteadweaver.com/usedequipment.htm  – a whole bunch of looms, but some wheels are sprinkled in there from time to time.

On Facebook there are two groups.  Search for Fiber Processing Equipment For Sale   &  All Fiber Equipment for Sale   .  These contain different equipment and have a LOT here.  You can search by key terms such as ‘spinning wheel’ a brand, or loom, etc.

Also, don’t forget about your local Craigslist, Ebay, and yarn stores that handle used equipment.  I’ve also found that some regional or local guilds post equipment members are selling, though most of them are looking for pick up only so it might require a road trip.