View Full Version : Drop Spindle

01-07-2006, 01:13 PM
I would like to try a drop spindle. Has anyone here used one and how easy is it to do? It seems like a cheaper way to go to find out if you like spinning yarn.

01-07-2006, 01:58 PM
I'm curious about this, too. I won't get to spin if I don't use a spindle; the wheels are beyond our budget right now. :rollseyes:

01-07-2006, 02:41 PM
same here. I have heard that some people just don't seem to be able to do it but can spin with spinning wheels. Would think it would be worth trying :thumbsup:

01-07-2006, 09:36 PM
I have not had much luck with a drop spindle. I feel like I need one more hand to make it all work. I can't tell you yet about how well I take to the wheel. Hopefully a lot better since I just bought one.

I think it is definately worth a try to learn drop spindle. I plan on keeping at it for at least a little while longer.

01-07-2006, 10:09 PM
The spindle is something that requires some patience with the learning curve. I was horribly frustrated when I began - leader yarn breaking, much swearing. I'd say that now I'm probably a mediocre spinner - I can get it moving but I lack the fine control for specific yarns. This is all because I don't take the trouble to practice more often, though.

It is a skill worth learning, and the drop spindle is definitely the most affordable way to get experience. The key is to have patience with yourself, and if the books don't work for you, try to find someone at your LYS or community ed office that can find a course for you. Sometimes it just takes learning from someone face to face - seeing it helps you put together what your own hands ought to be doing.

(Note to Amy - spinning tutorials for Drop Spindle? Good expansion lesson. :thumbsup: )

01-08-2006, 02:58 PM
I mentioned this before somewhere, but I finally got TWO spindles last Oct at my local big wool & sheep festival. I wanted a spindle for a year and finally found the ones I really liked at the festival. Annnnnnd, I haven't tried spinning yet. I just keep looking forward to it and don't do it.
Procratinator Extraordinaire

I have a really good book on it too. The one spindle I got is so beautiful, it cost $36 or something near there. One is smaller and the other a big guy.
I'm definitely going to try this any day now. I think I'd like in person lessons though... it's just they're so expensive around NYC. a drag
Like $200.

01-08-2006, 03:08 PM
$200? Ack!

Do you get DIY? Knitty Gritty has a spinning episode, and it airs again on Feb. 9 at 11:30 a.m. eastern. In it, Liz Gipson demonstrates how to use a drop spindle. Also, here's (http://www.mielkesfarm.com/spndl_inst.htm) a link to an online tutorial of sorts. I'm sure there are lots of other sites out there; I just like Mielke's Fiber Arts!

When I finally get a spindle ( :rollseyes: ), I'm going to try to use the KG episode and the online thing...*fingers crossed that it works*

01-08-2006, 04:02 PM
When I finally get a spindle ( :rollseyes: ), I'm going to try to use the KG episode and the online thing...*fingers crossed that it works*

Do you have a couple old CD's? I believe this same Knitty Gritty has instructions on how to make a spindle from 2 old cd's and a dowel rod.

Also a TERRIFIC book for drop spindle is called Spin it by Lee Raven

I have just pulled this book out again to re-read it and I wish I had read it closer the first time I think I would have done better. I am going to take my time this time and do the little teaching exercises she gives that I skipped last time. Who knows I may figure out this spindle thing after all.

01-08-2006, 04:42 PM
Oh, I have lots of cds to make a spindle, but it will be a PITA to make it because I lack the necessary tools.

There's a place about 10 minutes from me that has all sorts of them starting at about $15, so I'll likely get one from there.

01-08-2006, 09:13 PM
I found this http://danielson.laurentian.ca/qualityoflife/Fulltext/Textiles/Making_a_cd_drop_spindle.htm

01-09-2006, 01:25 AM

Mad About Wool
01-11-2006, 07:48 PM
Some people do GREAT with a CD spindle. My best friend still prefers her CD spindle over any other! I was a different story - I got really frustrated with drop spindling until I got a different kind of spindle. (Not to put anyone off, I just mention this in case you try a CD spindle and don't get the knack of it.)

01-11-2006, 09:05 PM
what other kinds of spindles are there??? :??

Mad About Wool
01-11-2006, 09:14 PM
Some people make their own out of toy wheels and a wooden dowel. Then, there are plenty of ones that artisans make, such as:


http://coppermoose.com/spindles1-Mini.html (sadly not producing at this time due to a tragedy in the family, but his spindles are superb!)


http://www.dropspindle.info/dropspindles.html (awesome, but also expensive)

Also, numerous people sell spindles and spindle kits on e-bay.

Oh, if this belongs in the spinning resources section, feel free to move it :oops:

01-11-2006, 09:45 PM
I love the Golding Spindles. I have been oogling those for a while. Although with my current skill on a spindle being as it is the purchase would be extravagent. (They are just so pretty!)

Anyways I have a question. Different diameters in the spindle effect spinning how? I am assuming how quickly it spins? Or am I wrong? How do I know which diameter I want?

01-11-2006, 09:53 PM
So, of DROP spindeles, there are high whirl, low whirl, and turkish? This is the info I have found out so far.

01-11-2006, 11:30 PM
I looked at all the resources in the sticky and it seems that high whorl creates thin yarns (spins faster) and low whorl creates thick yarns (spins slower). If you want to make a thick yarn you also need to use a rolag (a rolag uses short hairs that are combed with a lot of loft creating a light, thick yarn) rather than roving (roving uses long hairs and makes the yarn tight, dense and strong). There is also the Navajo spindle spinning.

From what I've read, not what I've tried (which right now is nothing lol)

Mad About Wool
01-12-2006, 12:04 AM
And the larger the diameter of the whorl, the thicker the yarn. With a small diameter whorl, you can spin laceweight. Those beauties spin at a dizzying pace! :eyebrow:

01-12-2006, 12:12 AM
So if I were to want to get one which would you suggest for someone just starting?
I won't be getting any until feb but dosen't hurt to shop around. ;)

01-12-2006, 05:07 AM
Hmm, from the sounds of it, a low whorl/whirl (?) spindle with a large diameter, so that you can make thicker yarn. I know from experience that making thinner yarn is a pain in the butt! And I was doing it with a high whirl drop spindle, ...it's definitely like lace weight!

01-12-2006, 07:38 AM
I've read in several places that the bottom-whorl spindles are easier for newbies to use because the weight is on the bottom and thus balances better. Putting the bottom of the spindle on a table at first also helps.

Mad About Wool
01-12-2006, 09:48 AM
I agree that a spindle with a bigger diameter whorl would be good.

01-12-2006, 12:05 PM
I met the owner of this shop below at the Wool & Sheep Festival last October. He was selling lots of these Bosworths to people who valued his opinion and he told me they are a beauty to spin with. Of course I haven't learned yet so I cant give you my personal opinion but out of all the ones I'd been looking at this one really is sweet. He said it's got wonderful balance and makes spinning much easier. I don't think I could spin with a cd but I don't like cds in general that much.

Anyhoo... check it out, scroll down the page to see the Bosworths. Ashford is another big seller but the Bosworth is much prettier. I also got a bigger spindle for doing more than one ply. (that's why you use a bigger one, to do 2, 3 and 4 ply yarns).

Click Here (http://carolinahomespun.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=CH&Category_Code=Hand-Spinning)

The Mod Squad was here

01-12-2006, 12:07 PM
Angelia, I've actually read the opposite, and been told that too... that top whorl spindles are better for beginners.! That's what I've got. oh well....

01-12-2006, 12:33 PM
Angelia, I've actually read the opposite, and been told that too... that top whorl spindles are better for beginners.! That's what I've got. oh well....

:roflhard: :roflhard:

Oh it just figures! :D The reasoning I've heard is that the weight on the bottom makes for better balance overall. But I've never tried either, so I have no clue, but I was going to purchase a bottom-whorl based on that info. Now, well, I just don't know! Wish I could go somewhere and try them out...

01-12-2006, 01:41 PM
Ok, now you got me surfing all over the place looking at other opinions!

Read a bit of this one... interesting stuff!


01-12-2006, 01:52 PM
Thanks, Victoise!

So, what have we learned?

1: Go light, not "boat anchor." :thumbsup:

2: Where the whorl needs to be is personal preference. :rollseyes:

3: Spinning is as addictive as knitting. :shock:

I think I'm going with the bottom-whorl. I have a sense of it (could be wrong-headed, I know), and it seems to me that I would work better with the weight on the bottom...Maybe. :??

Mad About Wool
01-12-2006, 03:45 PM
He was selling lots of these Bosworths to people who valued his opinion and he told me they are a beauty to spin with. Of course I haven't learned yet so I cant give you my personal opinion but out of all the ones I'd been looking at this one really is sweet. He said it's got wonderful balance and makes spinning much easier.

Well, I have never spun on one of these, but I have other stuff he has made (a Journey Wheel Spinning Wheel and a Book Charkha for spinning cotton and short fibers) and both of these products are excellent! :thumbsup: I am sure his drop spindles are awesome also. I also find it easier to spin on a top whorl drop spindle.

01-13-2006, 11:03 AM
Ha, like that summing up! I sat down last night and started reading this book I bought last fall, it's excellent. Called Spindle Spinning From Novice to Expert by Connie Delaney. A woman at a yarn shop turned me onto it.
I think it's time for me to get going from novice to expert!

Here's a good tip from her book:

"My experience is that is takes three days to learn to spin. Don't rush yourself... it is not your brain that needs to learn the skill, it is your hands. Your body needs time to build neural receptors between your brain and your muscles. Spend a lot of time on each step until your hands have time to learn and become familiar with the motions."

Well, sounds a bit like knitting eh???? :happydance:

01-13-2006, 03:23 PM
When I was shown how to use a spindle (too briefly), I was able to take home some really crappy student (cheap) spindles. Overall tho I preferred the top whorl.

I didn't have much luck resting my spindle on a table - I got incredibly frustrated dropping it all the time, but this just encouraged me to keep at it and eventually I sort of got the hang of it. I didn't really enjoy it tho, but now I think it has to do with 2 things - 1. the crappy spindle that was really heavy (I forget how heavy) and 2. the fiber. Now that I know more, I really think I was trying to spin the wrong type of fiber - it was borderline waste wool, not well prepared, and I had no idea what I was trying to do.

I really want to give spindling a second chance, with a better spindle and better fiber. I see people spinning up beautiful blends and silks their first week and I think that's the way to go. Well, maybe not silk, but something inspiring and well prepared.

01-14-2006, 12:35 PM
I do a little spinning with a top whorl. It is an Ashford. I took a class in Northern Wisconsin at a little yarn shop. She did not mention that the size of the whorl made a difference on the type of yarn you spun... but rather how you do with the stretching of the fibers while spinning.

She showed us a lace weight and a thick n thin yarn spun both with the same spindle. In the class I was really good at doing the spinning of a lace weight type yarn, but after I got home I was a little more of a worsted weight yarn when I was done, and sometimes, if I got lazy and was not paying enough attention, it was like a thick/thin yarn.

I don't know if this helps much. I do enjoy it and it is rather relaxing, but with three kids around (two mine and one I care for) during the day, and working part-time evenings, I don't have a lot of time to spin. I am looking forward to being able to purchase a wheel sometime and really get into it. :lol:

01-16-2006, 12:26 AM
I've only used top-whorl spindles. I like them because I can whip it off my leg to get it spinning fast when I'm cruisin' or doing fine yarn that needs lots of twist. Seems like a bottom whorl wouldn't like the shaft being rolled against the leg, since the yarn is running along the shaft; but I've not used them, maybe one could still do this.

BTW, CD spindles are great, good balance and weight. The wide diameter gives them good momentum, and yet they're not so heavy that they drop like an anchor. I dont' know where one gets the rubber insterts recommended to hold them on a dowel, but I've used masking tape around and around the dowel until it was thick enough to squeeze the CD on it. Not perfect, but it worked!

01-21-2006, 07:01 PM
I went to Home Depot, asked a guy and he got me the exact thing required, it is a neoprene grommet and has a groove on the outside that the CD fits in.

01-21-2006, 07:06 PM
I wonder...would they cut and drill the dowel, even for a small fee?

01-22-2006, 12:05 AM
I found the dowels in the molding section (you know, like crown molding?) and they had a little station so you could cut your own molding. I just measured my dowel and cut it there. I don't think they'd drill it though. Maybe you could get a "demonstration" in the power tool area...

01-22-2006, 08:18 AM
:thumbsup: That sounds like a great idea!

I knew they'd cut stuff for you there; I just wasn't sure about the drilling. It's worth a try...

"Excuse me, but I'm not sure how to drill into a piece of wood this small; could you show me?" :angelgrin:

01-22-2006, 09:37 AM
BTW Angelia, I LOVE everything you are teaching this week. You rock!

01-22-2006, 09:58 AM
Oh, thanks! I'm teaching my favorite classes this term--all sorts of good stuff! :inlove: I do need to update, though...we're leaving Candide and moving on to Gulliver's Travels! :thumbsup: