I had my first taste of spinning with a drop spindle less than a week ago. Having mild success with that, and really enjoying it, I have made some steps towards becoming a spinner. I attended a meeting at the weavers & spinners guild on Saturday (to see if I could test my luck at a wheel).
The members of the guild meet every Saturday at the Art Center in town. There is a room full of spinning wheels and a room full of looms. From 10 - 2, the women trickle in, each with their wheel and set up in a circular formation around the room. They greet each other, catching up on the events of the week, and checking in on each other's progress and new projects. Many people come to spin, but others choose to work the fibers they have created and sit and chat while knitting.
I didn't bring anything and chose to observe and learn about the process. After taking in all that I could, I had one of the women show me how to spin. She picked me out a traditional ashford wheel and grabbed me some of the 'learner's' fiber (it was a beautiful brown with flecks of grey). She adjusted the wheel for me and off I went. It wasn't perfect yarn, but it was much nicer looking than my first attempt on a drop spindle (see left). It was relatively even and skinny! I filled up a bobbin in less than an hour so I'm thinking I'll have time to do the same next week and learn how to ply the two together.
Oh and after having a go on the wheel I picked up my own drop spindle and some more fiber. I put all my newly learned techniques to use on the drop spindle and my yarn product was greatly improved (see).
This page is a nice basic intro to drop spinning (and the pics of the old lady are pretty great too).