Mingo Asho Glasspins
If you're a spindle spinner you have most likely seen or may even own one of these beautiful glass tipped spindles. They have juicy glassblown tips on rich wood shafts with whimsical burned sketches of pine trees and river scenes. Like many who fall fast for pretty tools, I very quickly tracked down several Glasspins from Mingo Asho and built a collection of my own. With elements like wood and glass, and artists who like to change things up with shapes and sizes, these spindles are not all the same. They are not made on a production line, they are made one at a time and although at a glance might look similar, they are extremely unique. Below are a few features you may want to consider when purchasing a Mingo Asho spindle.
What's in a shaft?
There are two basic styles of wood shafts that Glasspins come in - with beveled sections, and without. There is nothing wrong with either style, both are beautiful and neither have an effect on spinning. However, when I was a new spinner, I personally found the beveled sections helpful in building a stable cop. The shafts with no beveled canals to start your cop in make it a little more difficult because when you first wind on your single it has a tendency to slide. You can avoid this by winding your first few wraps in opposite diagonals so that, as you go, your single grips the fiber on the grid below and doesn't slip. See my example in the following pics - this is my favorite Mingo Asho spindle, and although it is not the broader shaft I am discussing in this section, you can see how I have made a base grid with my singles to avoid any slipping.
Why is weight important?
Another factor that is different with each Glasspin is weight. Why is that important? Well, what kind of yarn do you want to make? Some spinners like to make lace weight yarn, using multiple plies of cobweb-like singles. That calls for a lightweight fast spindle. Some spinners, myself included, LOVE making fat chunky yarn. That would require a heavier spindle.
Also, what kind of fiber are you spinning? Different fibers vary in staple length and this determines what weight or type of spindle is best for spinning them. We aren't going to cover all the wool breeds here, but do your research on your desired fiber and choose your spinning tool based on that. Or, if you already have the spindle, buy the appropriate fiber. It will save you a ton of frustration!!
Another reason for choosing a specific weight is enjoyability and comfortability. Some of us like to spin for the sake of spinning, and that is A-OK!! If you find it tedious to have to continuously flick a heavier spindle, then you should try something lighter. If you find you constantly overspin your fiber because your lightweight spindle spins way too fast, opt for a heavier one.
With materials like glass and wood, weight will vary. When shopping for a spindle, be sure to check the weight of the spindle before buying, as well as the length of the shaft. You want balance in your spindle for optimal spinning and these are big factors in that. I have seen Glasspins anywhere between 20g and 50g, so pay attention!
Now for my personal opinion on Glasspins.
I spin almost every day, and when it comes to spindles there are some must-haves. I need quality materials, quality craftsmanship, balance, and beauty. Mingo Asho Glasspins meet the above criteria with flying colors. Their spindles are enjoyable to spin, create lovely yarn and look pretty on my shelf when not in use.
I have a preference for their older spindles made in 2015-2016 because of the shape of their glass beads and the slender form of their shafts. You can see in the photo below the differences in the older spindle on the left, which is from 2015, and the newer models to the right.
If you are interested in purchasing a Mingo Asho Glasspin, you can visit their Etsy shop. (Pssst... check their shop early Monday mornings for their regular update, they only post a few at a time and you have to be quick) You can also look in the Spindle Candy destash forum on Ravelry and, of course, ISO's will most certainly bring many options of out the woodwork. These spindles typically cost anywhere between $89-100 and if well cared for should last for many years. If you do have an issue with your Glasspin, the makers and still around and available for advice or repairs.
All spindles in this article were purchased by me, and the opinions expressed are mine based on my personal experience.