Traveling spindle kit

As an interruption to the coverage of the photo shoot, here's some information on the traveling spindle kit that has worked out best for me, thanks to those who have asked.

Here's my spindle kit in the middle of a set-up for a picture of, oh, let's see: Rambouillet.


Here's what's inside the container, which I got at a hardware store. It's intended for storing miscellaneous tools and parts:


  • A black spinning cloth (more useful with a wheel, but I find it helpful to have one around; I could leave it out and have more room for fiber).
  • A clip-on reading light. This could also be replaced by fiber.
  • Spindle: essential. This is a Magpie Woodworks Magpie small top-whorl spindle, although I have a number of simple spindles that fit into this case so I can choose the tool to fit the fiber I'm carrying. The length of the shaft and diameter of the whorl are the dimensions that need to be taken into account.
  • Niddy noddy. I improvise ball winders out of empty t.p. rolls all the time, but prefer to have a real (if small) niddy handy. This one makes a 24-inch skein.
  • Fiber: I can fit an amazing amount of fiber around the tools. What's shown here are just scraps that I was spinning samples from (Targhee wool, both roving and top).
  • Container, with lid off. It's a Crown Bolt clear can storage container, 2.75 x 8 inches. I got it at Home Depot. This size is available in our local store, although it's not listed on the web site. There's a slit in the lid that can be used to put things in and out of the tube without opening the whole thing if you're using it for its intended purpose (as I'm not). When the tube is used for a spindle, that slit means if the spindle's a tad too long it can still fit adequately. 

Here are the contents, ready to be loaded:


The niddy noddy has been disassembled and the reading light and the black cloth have been folded up.

Loading sequence is important. The spindle tip goes in early, but is not put all the way in right away.


The light and the niddy get tucked in under the whorl. I also stuff in as much fiber as I want at this point. If I have different types of fibers, I wrap them in small pieces of well-worn scrap fabric. If keeping the fibers separated isn't important, I just arrange them neatly in any open spaces and push the spindle down after them.


Then I put the spindle in place.


There's a whole lot more room for fiber in there . . . especially if the black cloth and reading light are eliminated or packed elsewhere.

I love the niddy noddy, although I don't know where to get one exactly like this today. If I were looking now, I'd check out a Magpie Woodworks sampler-size niddy or David Reed Smith's currently available adjustable niddy.

What's most interesting to me about this combination is the number of corners of my luggage or backpack into which it can be tucked at the last minute, even when I am packed to capacity. It's rigid enough to fully protect the contents, and exceptionally lightweight. It's not sweetly handcrafted, and it is plastic. But it's see-through, which is very handy and not something I could arrange for with other practical materials.


17 thoughts on “Traveling spindle kit”

  1. That’s a great idea! I’ve got a small Bosworth spindle that I bought specifically to travel with, and have yet to take it anywhere — maybe I should pack it with me to Ragdale?

    My sample-sized niddy is a Timbertops English yew one: I don’t think it was designed to come apart, but one arm of it does.

    Hmm, I think I need a trip to Home Depot.

  2. I happened onto this. I was working on transporting some things, saw the containers, bought a couple of sizes . . . and the longest one evolved into this, and keeps doing it so well that it . . . keeps doing it. Highly recommended.

  3. Thanks, Deb – your system is so practical and sturdy and sensible. I shall have to obtain one of those containers, although at this point I have designed a really interesting compartmentalized spindle carrier. I do believe there would be room for a take-apart niddynoddy, too. Am traveling now, though, so have to wait to construct it.

  4. What a wonderful idea – it would work great for my tiny turkish spindle. I must get on to making one for myself. Brain is already spinning with ideas on how to do this!

  5. Eddie, you're right that this would be perfect for a Turkish spindle, too! Think of what you could pack into the tube with a Turkish spindle instead of a regular whorl. . . . I just really like my Maggie spindles (and several others, but the small Maggies travel especially well).

    Cat, I caught from your early comments that you are designing a compartmentalized carrier and I really, really want to see what you come up with. The idea of a take-apart niddy-noddy may be my contribution to your effort!

  6. Brilliant!! I am heading right out to home depot! I have tried various things to transport spindles, all of them unsatisfactory. Even vaguely looked at the Golding Spindle travel case… but at $98. I could buy two spindles! Wonderful to meet you at Knit Camp UK… I was the one from Sitka who dragged my husband along. He survived!

  7. Deb, I got a tube like that with a Blue Moon kit ages ago and have been using it as a travelling spindle case as well! Hadn’t thought about the niddy noddy, but I have a tiny Timbertops one that will fit! Thanks for the reminder…I have a trip coming up and definitely want to bring my spinning gear!

  8. That is such a great idea! I’ve broken more than a few spindles when taking them out and about that I’ve been looking for a rigid container just for this. I never thought to look at the hardware store.

  9. i’ve seen noddys (noddies?) made from thin pvc pipe: 1 longish pipe (up to 1′) and 4 short ones (3-4″), plus 2 3-way connectors. dirt cheap, portable, disassemblable. most hardware stores will even cut the pipe for you (since you have to buy it in lengths of 8′ or 10′ or some absurdly long amount).

  10. I must get one of those containers. What are they actually called? I can’t imagine that I will get good looks if I ask for the “spindle holder” @ Home Depot or the local hardware store 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  11. Susan, I remember the Sitka connection, and am glad your husband survived Knit Camp along with the rest of us!

    Amy, a Timbertops niddy would be a fine, fine thing to add to such a kit. Michael, I have a handful of Magpie’s Maggie spindles.

    Love to hear that folks are getting ideas for traveling with spindles. I’d like to hear more about everyone’s solutions. Two broken spindles (my number) were two too many.

    Keesoo, the container is officially described as “Crown Bolt clear can storage container, 2.75 x 8 inches.” Crown Bolt is a manufacturer. There may be other companies making these items.

  12. For those of us in the UK with no Home Depot:

    I use a Glenfiddich tube – I got it on freecycle (I don’t actually drink whiskey) and it’s slightly triangular in shape – I can fit a trindle, a drop spindle and a Spindolyn in one with fibre. It’s also long enough that it’ll comfortably hold a Russian Support Spindle!

  13. Great idea. Freecycle is super as a resource!

    My spindle package does, as I mentioned, fit into spaces within my luggage that I wouldn't think would accommodate a spindle kit. I'll be all packed and think there's no room for anything else and still be able to fit the tube in a corner. Did just that this very morning, yet again.

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