Before you can start spinning, you are going to need some handspinning supplies! What are your options and where do you get the tools and fiber that you’ll need for your yarn?
Handspinning supplies can be purchased locally from farm stores, small shops or in person events, like festivals, or from larger online retailers which may also have a physical store you could go to.
7 Best Places To Get Wool For Handspinning also gives you some ideas on where to source your spinning fibers.
Buy your spinning supplies locally
If you search “fiber for spinning near me” or put in your closest town, you’ll come up with some great local fiber and spinning supply options.
If you don’t come up with anything locally at first, try a few different ways to look up what spinning supplies and you’ll probably come up with something!
I have good luck with looking up spinning, knitting or crochet classes near me and looking into those.
It seems like folks that are wonderful with spinning are not super focused on SEO (search engine optimization) so the selection of supplies they have does not show up in the online search.
To get around this, you’ll need a name to search, either the farm name or the person’s name and usually they will at least have an account on a social media platform that you can look into.
The best way I have found to get the names of folks selling fiber supplies in my area is to look at the vendor’s list for any wool or fiber festivals that are held around here.
Normally there are tons of folks that are pretty close to me that I couldn’t find while searching online, but they are pretty easy to find once I see them on a vendor’s list.
I like to go and see the supplies before I purchase them.
Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned that way, but it makes a big difference to me to see the things I am buying and talk over my options with a person who knows his or her stuff.
I find that shopping in person is the best way to get what you want and sort out things that look good from things that will actually work well for you, your goals and your current skill level.
Visits a local fiber store
If you are fortunate enough to have one, go check out your local fiber store. Maybe your closest fiber store isn’t all that local? (That’s the case for me.)
Could you plan a day trip and go check out your options in person? Nothing beats going into the store and being able to touch and try out all of the different options, especially for wheels!
Another big plus of a local fiber store is the potential for tool rental. This way you could try out a few items before you buy, just to make sure the tool, including wheels, suits you.
Gwen Erin is a small fiber store fairly close to me, within a few hours, and is run by a wonderful gal that I met at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival. This is a shop to check out if you’re in the area!
Local farm store
Local farms that are focused on wool or other fiber producing animals may have a store for you to see their supplies in person.
They also may offer classes and tool, specifically wheel rentals, to help you get started.
8 Tips For Buying Wool From A Small Farmer goes over some of the things you’ll need to know if you want to buy your spinning fiber directly from the farmer.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you).
Looking for a great resource on which fiber to pick and how best to use it? Consider getting The Fleece And Fiber Sourcebook, filled with wonderful pictures and details on just about any wool you can find.
Online fiber shop
There are tons of choices for spinning supplies online! You can find large retailers with nearly everything you could want and small shops that are selling from their farm.
Large online retailers
For large retailers, I tend to go with either The Woolery or Paradise Fibers, I have ordered supplies for myself from The Woolery.
Both are larger online stores that have physical stores, as well, and have a substantial selection of fiber and tools, including a variety of wheels.
The great thing about online retailers is that you can browse through a large selection of items and you can get a good price on fiber.
Small online retailers
Small online fiber supply retailers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Small online retailers can be:
- small shops with an online store
- resellers, including fellow hobbyists that buy in bulk
- small farmers or growers raising and selling their own fiber
These smaller operations may operate their own online store or have items for sale on other platforms like Etsy.
Until I got to shopping around this spring, I didn’t realize how many fellow spinning enthusiasts have a small Etsy shop and sell extra fiber or buy in fiber to sell in smaller lots.
It’s always interesting to me what folks choose to stock. No one knows better how to assemble a great selection than folks who are looking for the fiber themselves!
For instance, I found a shop on Etsy that has an entire selection of Shetland available in small amounts for anyone doing colorwork, like for Fair Isle patterns.
Some of the colorwork would take very small amounts of each color, so you’d end up with tons leftover, or you can order from Friends In Fiber (link to their Etsy page) and they will weigh out what you need of each color. What a great idea!
I did order from this shop, they did a super job with my order and were fast. I’d definitely order from them again.
To me this is the neat part about buying from smaller shops, you get folks who love the fibers and are figuring out ways to help other enthusiasts just like them.
The other really neat part about buying from the smaller shops is that some are carrying roving or fleece from their own fiber animals, that’s neat!
Festivals or other fiber focused events
In the days before we were comfortable with having internet, not too long ago actually, all of my fiber purchases were in person at fiber festivals.
If you search “fiber festivals” then add the year, you’ll get festivals that are coming up in or close to your area.
Sheep And Wool Festival: What they are and why you should go is a Family Farm Livestock.com article about the festivals in my area, which includes a video of the Great Lakes Fiber Festival.
I love being able to see and touch the fiber and other supplies for myself. For me, this is especially true with wool.
Sometimes my idea of what I am getting and the reality of what I am getting, like when I get excited about a new to me breed, are different.
Different enough that I change my mind and buy something else that I’ll like better. Good thing I saw that wool in person!
The other big pro for in person shopping is color.
I love naturally colored fleeces, but sometimes I find that the pictures online are not what I’m looking for, some really great fleeces are just hard to take good pictures of.
I have found that it’s all too easy to take a bad picture of a lovely fleece, getting the light right can be tough, especially if the wool is outside.
The other wonderful result of attending an in person event is that you get to see all of the interesting ideas that fiber lovers have tried out and liked.
It’s creativity central and walking through the displays and vendors always gives me ideas and a bit of inspiration. If you have a chance, attend an in person event, you’ll be glad you did!
Attend a spinning or weaving guild meeting
Another great place to get the scoop on what is what and even get some first hand opinions on what will work for you is to attend a fiber enthusiasts meeting, like a spinning or weaving guild.
If you are interested in social gatherings, don’t hesitate on this one. In my experience, guild members love to talk fiber and are happy to help you get going.
You’ll probably also see a variety of wheels, up close and in person, which means you can see for yourself how they work and maybe even try them out to see which one suits you.
While these folks will probably not have fiber to sell, at least not with them, they will have some great ideas on what you’ll be best served getting and where you can get it.
These folks are also great sources of information on what you should avoid, at least for now. Steering clear of additional frustration will help you get comfortable with your wheel sooner.