When I first started knitting, Bex (she who passed on the dreadful condition) helped me work up a list of supplies I needed to begin collecting: needles, notions, and yarn, mainly. As much as that list evolved over time, there's one incredibly useful item that never appeared on it: a spin dryer.
I'm in love with my spin dryer. I bought it for laundry purposes, but it's turned out to be one of the biggest sanity-saving devices in my craft arsenal. See, I'm also in love with sweaters. And wet-blocking a sweater on the very limited counter space in my studio apartment? Pain. In. The. Ass. Cooking becomes a nerve-wracking experience when you're worried about spilling chopped onions on the sweater you spent the last month knitting.
My spin dryer makes it a non-issue. Last night I decided to block a certain sweater I've been working on, which is over 1000 yards of bulky wool (read: holds water with camel-like, physics defying capacity). After two minutes in the spin dryer, it was almost wearably dry. I laid it out on the counter to block, and this morning there was just one slight damp spot left, where the fabric had been layered on itself.
The spin dryer is also wonderful for finishing handspun. Toss in a wet skein, and out comes a slightly damp skein that only needs to be placed somewhere safe to finish drying, not hung dripping in the shower. Since there's no agitation involved,the dryer can't felt anything, and it's so gentle on fabric I've tossed lace projects in there without worry. Definitely one of the coolest tools I own for knitting and spinning, and I didn't even mean it to be!
In semi-related news, I'm wearing my first sweater today. It's a year old as of last week and still holding up beautifully. Happy belated birthday, sweater!