Drop spindle for spinners

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Just got back from the Maryland sheep and wool festival. Had a great time, ate a giant eclair, pet all the sheep (wanted to steal a Jacob, love those horns), and also bought a drop spindle and some carded wool. I knit and used to work on a loom, but have never spun before. I just tried the drop spindle and it was so easy, I was amazed! Mine cost about $10 but looks like it could very easily be made. Seems like this would be a great project for homeschool kids, it's really easy and relaxing. Anyone else spin with a drop spindle?

-- Elizabeth (Lividia66@aol.com), May 05, 2002


I have made a drop spindle out of an apple and a pencil. The basics are a tapered dowel, with the wider part through the base. The base part that spins should be a fairly heavy wood, to cut down on the wobble. The dowel needs to extend through the base about an inch, two wrap the spun wool around. Love to drop spin, it's a mindless task to let your mind wonder, can get a lot of thinkin' done...

-- lacyj (hillharmony@hotmail.com), May 05, 2002.


We were there on Saturday. I coudln't believe what was being charged for the drop spindles. Cheapest I saw was 11.00. Anyway, my daughter put her mind to it and when we got home she got out a skewer and some clay and contrived her own drop spindle. She got out our Back to Basics book and proceeded to try her hand at spinning the rovings she bought at the festival. I have a drop spindle around here somewhere but it has been misplaced. We will find it eventually. I suppose if space is a problem that the little drop spindle is very handy once you get the hang of it.

I was doing ok with it before other things demanded more of my time. Hope it works out for you.

-- Lavender, Central Maryland (lavenderbluedilly@hotmail.com), May 05, 2002.

Elizabeth, I spin with a Traditional Ashford Traveler spinning wheel. I have a English drop spindle but I haven't really got the hang of it. I much prefer the traditional spinning Wheel. However there are times with I could use the drop spindle. I quess since you feel it is so east I'll dig it out and try again. We also homeschool but my daughter who I have taught to spinn is not interested in continuing the hobby. Linda

-- Linda (awesomegodchristianministries@yahoo.com), May 05, 2002.

Drop spindles are a very primitive tool and easy to make. When I teach beginning spinning classes I make spindles out of birch dowel and toy wheels in various weights. Light weight spindles spin a fine thread, while heavy weight spindles spin a bulkier thread.

Today I dug some clay out of the creek bank to make clay spindle whorls which I will fire in a campfire once the whorls have dried out. Many spinners like a spindle made out of a dowel, a rubber grommet and a couple of junk CDs -- AOL freebies or other spam. You can also make a spindle out of a big bead and a bamboo skewer ( blunt the point.)Sculpey is another favorite for spindle whorls -- plus you can bake it on the spindle shaft.

Most of the fancy spindles are exotic woods or handpainted. Your homebrew spindle will work just fine. Play around with the weight of the whorl to get the type of yarn you like.

-- Sara in IN (urthmomma@aol.com), May 05, 2002.

The lady who taught me to spin made aboriginal spindles out of 3 sticks from a tree or shrub in her back yard. Can't get more cost effective and low labor intensity than that.:o) Have fun!

-- Alison in NS (aproteau@istar.ca), May 06, 2002.

I have a drop spindle, but have never used it. I haven't been able to find any fiber to spin. Some day----- Have fun and good luck.

-- Robin Downing (Southpawrobin1@aol.com), May 06, 2002.

I have seen instructions on the web for making them out of those CD's that you no longer want with a couple of rubber gaskets (or "O" rings) (or if your library carries Spin-Off Magazine, I think instructions were in one of the back issues). I agree, even basic (unfinished, no special wood turning, or even exotic woods used) drop spindles can be expensive.

But nostepindes (what you use to make a flat center-pull ball of yarn with) are even more expensive, considering they are not much more than a dowel with a somewhat tapered end.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), May 06, 2002.

does anyone who cards wool want some llama fiber, its very dirty, and will need to be cleaned, but would ship it out to the first asker, just cover the cost of shipping it (about 3.00) if no one wants it i will probobly just toss it out

-- Beth in ND (famvan@drtel.net), May 07, 2002.

Hi Folks!

I teach drop spindle spinning among other things, and if you just want to try your hand at it,push a fairly round potato onto an old knitting needle. Start off your spinning with a piece of already made yarn about 1/2 yard in length, knotted to the bottom under the potato on the needle just after the "button" end, bring around the potato to the point end of the needle, put a half hitch around the top of the needle and make a small loop at the end of this yarn to attach your roving to (this is called the leader) and continue as with any drop spindle. If you have difficulty at first, try twisting the spindle, hold it between your legs, then while pinching the "yarn" already made, pull out the fiber to the thickness desired, and then let the twist up into this "drafted" fiber by sliding your fingers up while gently pinching at the same time. Then, pinch off the twist hard while you pick the spindle back up and give another twirl and repeat. Try not to tense up while doing this, and with a little patience and practice, the yarn will begin to form. Expect thick yarn at first, this is a luxury as later on when you are a seasoned spinner, it is hard to recapture the ability to make the thicker yarn.

Have fun!

Sandie in ME now in MA

-- Sandie now in MA (thompson@greatpoint.net), May 07, 2002.

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