I first experienced spinning only about a year ago. At a small fiber festival I saw spinning supplies and I was interested in trying to spin. I wasn't convinced it was for me, and I didn't want to invest a lot. I bought a book, a drop spindle, and some fiber to practice with. That was a basic recipe for disaster, since I just couldn't catch on to the principles of spinning and controlling the drop spindle. It can be rough going. But, judge for yourself - here are links to some good videos on using a drop spindle:
Since my initial experience with the drop spindle, I started hanging out with knitters at Nature's Yarns in Fairfax, Virginia. A spinning group meets there too, and as with knitters, all are extremely generous with their knowledge, resources, and supplies. I was coaxed into trying a spinning wheel. I was intimidated, and uptight about spinning in front of the entire group, and the result was not good. But I am tenacious (some would call it bull-headed, but not to my face...), and I eventually tried the spinning wheel again. Somewhere along the line I got hooked - and became the proud owner of a second-hand wheel, an Ashford Traditional double-drive.
There is no doubt - on this journey, it is the influence of other enthusiasts that has made the difference. Everyone in the spinning group has done something to bring me into the fold and share their passion - they have lent me wheels, sold me equipment, given me fiber to spin, laughed with me, and explained and demonstrated techniques. I really want to thank all my mentors in the group! If you're a new spinner or want to learn, find mentors! If you are already a spinner and a mentor, you deserve huge thanks.
NOTE: I'm still horrible using a drop spindle.