Going on a big trip – do I take a spindle along? My “Inside-Out” emotions have their say.

I’m going on a big trip to Europe in the coming weeks. And I’m seriously contemplating forgoing my usual travel knitting and bringing a drop spindle instead. We’re trying to pack light a la Rick Steves, with all our luggage on our backs, so I can’t bring the bag full of projects I would normally pack as my “personal item” on the plane.

I have two choices, both long neglected. Partly because I’ve been addicted to my spinning wheels, but let’s be honest: I was also a bit intimidated. My spindle spinning has mostly been confined to heavier, beginner-friendly spindles, before I acquired a wheel. I haven’t seriously spun on a spindle in more than two years.

  • One choice is a cute little Jenkins spindle purchased at Black Sheep Gathering two years ago. And the poor little thing has been sitting neglected in my craft room ever since.
KCL Woods maple spindle.  0.84 oz
Jenkins walnut spindle 0.59 oz (17 g)

Pros:It’s very light weight and collapsible. Plus, all the photos on Instagram of Turkish spindle spinning look awesome.

Cons: I have never spun on this type of spindle before. 

  • The other choice is a cunning little KCL Woods spindle purchased for me by Mom when I first took up spinning.
KCL Woods maple drop spindle 0.84 oz.
KCL Woods maple drop spindle 0.84 oz.

Pros: It’s a top-whorl spindle, which is the only type I’ve ever spun on. It’s also light weight and it has a detachable shaft, with two extras. So it’s sort of collapsible too.

Cons: It’s going to take up more room in my luggage. Not much, but a little. And maybe it’s a bit too big for spinning on a plane. Hard to know until I try.

The Inside-Out characters in my head are saying:

Image from Pixarpost.com

  • Joy: You’ll have so much fun with your spindles. It’ll be so relaxing and you’ll meet so many new people while you spin. You know you like the attention. It will be great!
  • Sadness: What if spinning on spindles is not as much fun as you remember? Then you’ll be bored on a plane, wishing you had your knitting.
  • Fear:  What if you suck at spindle spinning? And what if you annoy the people sitting next to you in the plane. You’ve never done this before. What if you get all elbowy? They’ll throw you off the plane before you get to Philadelphia!
  • Disgust (Disdain really): Why bother packing anything project at all? You know you’re not really going to use it. It’ll just take up room in your luggage that you really should be filling with more socks and underwear.
  • Anger: You’d better bring some kind of project on the plane or I’m gonna lose it! You hear me? Lose it!


  1. I hear you ! I don’t even know if spinning is allowed on planes ! I’ve never tried spinning, so I can’t really help, but I’m always feeling better with a knitting project with me. Where are you going in Europe ? Are you going to visit our lovely yarn shops ? If you ever come to Paris and need good adresses and stuff, let me know !

    • I’ve hear of people spinning on planes. And the spindles can be made to look very innocent when taken apart. Yes we are going to Paris. 🙂 I’ll visit any yarn shop I can find.

      • Good to know about spinning in planes ! We have lovely yarn shops in Paris ! I can write you a list when I get some spare time, when are you going ? (Maybe we can meet if you’re up to it ? I showing Paris around !)

  2. I have a similar Jenkins Turkish spindle, and I have to say that I am not very fond of it. I just haven’t been able to really get the hang of using it. I much prefer my Golding Ring spindles, which are quite small and wouldn’t take up much room. For me, sock knitting a la Magic Loop is perfect travel knitting, but the last time I went to Ireland, I didn’t even touch my knitting except when sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane.

  3. If it were me, I would pack one short tiny circular needle (like an 8 inch addi) and one skein of sock yarn. Doesn’t take up much room, and if you finish the socks, you can wear them. Also, leaves room for yarn purchases in the bag. As for spinning, I am not good enough at it to even imagine trying to do it on the plane. But if you think you can, then bring the one you know you like and a small pile of fiber. If you spin some sock weight yarn, you could knit it up and wear it. How long will you be gone? 🙂

  4. I don’t tend to have the time or attention span for learning curves while I’m on vacation. So in your shoes, I would take the more familiar spindle. Either way, enjoy France!

  5. That Jenkins spindle looks to me like it might draw unwanted attention from TSA. Definitely bring along a small knitting project just in case 🙂

  6. I second the sock idea. Bring spindles, fiber & small needles. Make sock weight fiber and knit socks. If the spinning fails, buy yarn while on vacation and make socks. If all fails, give the spindles to someone in a yarn shop and make a friend.

  7. My first, initial thoughts were why can’t you bring one of each and is a spindle allowed on the plane? Europe is a long way to travel. I myself can only watch so many movies. I say bring along a small, new project like socks or a cowl. I assume you’ll be hunting down European yarn and can always add to your modest 😉 stash and start a new project.

  8. Definitely bring the spindle!!! If you’re already comfortable with drafting on a wheel, you’ll be ahead of the game 🙂
    Just in case…would socks take up too much space? Have fun, and please share pictures!

  9. I just went to the shore and our car was packed to the max and My hubby said somethings gotta go. SO I promptly picked up my knitting bag and stuffed it under my son’s toy by his feet. It was coming NO MATTER WHAT. Loved inside out too!!!!

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