The fiber selection wasn't really that tough. It needed to be something that I hadn't spun before, and my eye had already been on several blends that I had in my stash. Based on some sampling I had done a couple of months ago, I decided to use a gorgeous Suri alpaca/silk blend (The label says 70/25?) from Alpacas d'Auxvasse.
I started playing with my spindle yesterday afternoon, doing just enough to figure out how thick I needed to make my singles. As suspected, this fiber is much more appropriate for my spindle than the luscious fiber which I had chosen last year to be my first spindle project. (I was spinning a very slippery fiber much too fine for the weight of my spindle, and I finally gave up and moved it to the wheel.) Oddly, the suri/silk combination is acting more like Romney than it's acting like either silk or alpaca, and it has a stickiness to it that's perfect for this novice spindle spinner. I've had this particular batch of fiber for about 2 years (I think?) and it's possible that it's felted a wee bit as it's been moved around during that time. Then again, it could just be the preparation. My initial plan had been to make a fine laceweight with this fiber, but when sampled on the wheel it had proved to make a hard, unpleasant thread. Fifteen minutes with the spindle gave me a soft, lofty single and when I let it double back on itself I was enchanted with the the resulting two-ply.
And so, this morning I got up early and took my fiber and spindle to the back porch for a bit of spinning before my family got up. My 30 minutes flew by, and I found myself feeling both comfortable and happy with my spindle for the first time ever.
Of course, it's hard not to love such a beautiful tool!
I'm going to try to meet with my friend Jenny from the guild sometime soon. She's an excellent spindle spinner, and I know I have a lot to learn. In the meantime, I'm going to keep working. I figure at the very least 8 1/2 oz of fiber is enough to help me really get a feel for my spindle.
I don't know that spindles will ever replace the wheel in my heart...but I think there's definitely room for both in my life. AND, I just might need a few more spindles....