On C.H.I.P, SPI support is not enabled by default. To communicate with SPI peripherals like LED strips or cheap displays, you need to have the spidev module enabled. This module is now part of the standard kernel so you don't have to compile your own.

To activate SPI, add the module to the device tree then enable it:

sudo mkdir -p /sys/kernel/config/device-tree/overlays/spi
sudo sh -c 'cat /lib/firmware/nextthingco/chip/sample-spi.dtbo > /sys/kernel/config/device-tree/overlays/spi/dtbo'
sudo modprobe spidev

To make it permanent (load spidev at boot), add the following to /etc/rc.local as described by danjperron on NTC Board:

mkdir -p /sys/kernel/config/device-tree/overlays/spi
cat /lib/firmware/nextthingco/chip/sample-spi.dtbo > /sys/kernel/config/device-tree/overlays/spi/dtbo

If you want to use SPI from userspace (so you can use your Python program without sudo), create the spi group and add your user - chip - to it.

sudo groupadd -f --system spi
sudo usermod -a -G spi chip

Then add 90-spi.rules to /etc/udev/rules.d/ directory with the following content:

SUBSYSTEM=="spidev", GROUP="spi"

chip-community has a nice tutorial on how to test that SPI is working. In a nutshell, connect CSIHSYNC (MOSI) to CSIVSYNC (MISO) and run spidev_test:

wget http://www.raspibo.org/renzo/spidev_test.c
gcc -o spidev_test spidev_test.c
sudo ./spidev_test -D /dev/spidev32766.0