Ok, why, given we have spinning wheels (and also, we have wonderful yarns available everywhere) would you want to take a rock and a stick and spin your own yarn? It turns out that spindle spinning is very popular, in fact, more popular than ever and crafters are spinning beautiful yarns using this simplest of tool. "Respect the Spindle" gives you an overview of spindle spinning, shows you types of spindles, yarns created by them and gives you basic techniques to start spinning as well as including a DVD that shows you the methods.
I first learned to spindle as part of a spinning course. It is FRUSTRATING. They don't call it a "drop spindle" for nothing. Clunk it goes, right on the floor. Learning to spin is like riding a bike--you have to learn to coordinate. But with about a week or two of practice, you can actually make finer yarns than you do on the wheel. I belong to a group on Ravelry, a large fiber arts website, and the spindle-spun yarns never cease to amaze me. And you can now purchase the most beautiful tool-as-art spindles from artisans around the world, or make your own from a dowel and a CD.
The book starts with the basics of spindling, how to choose one shows you how it works, and then you learn about different ways to spin. Drafting (pulling out the fiber to insert twist) is demonstrated, as well as pulling out slubs and thick areas to make your yarn smooth and even in diameter. There is a demo of Russian spindles; these are support spindles, rather like long sharpened sticks, with a thick point at one end (the whorl) and a thin point at the other, the spindle itself, where the fibers get twisted. This is the way the fine Orenburg shawls are done-- with Russian goat fiber that is handspun for that ethereal, fuzzy, thin gossamer thread that is knitted into lacy confections. You really cannot buy Russian shawl yarn, so many have been drawn to spindling to make their own for knitting. The demo here is good. Five projects give you something to make from your spun yarn.
There is a companion DVD for this book. Visuals are helpful when spinning.
This is not the be-all, end-all book of spindling, and frankly, if you are an experienced spindler, this will not really be a revelation to you. This is a good starting point for spindlers, or for spindlers looking for newer techniques such as the Russian spindling but you will need more as you advance. But if all you've done is spin wheel yarns, or if you've never spun, this is a great book. Along with a decent spindle you can pick up online or at sheep and wool shows, and a ball of roving or batt of wool fiber, you can learn a portable craft that provides relaxation and beautiful yarns.