Adventures in Spinning with a Drop Spindle

You can tell I’ve been busy – no new blog entries!  So I will catch up with my spinning narrative and will try to be more attentive to the blog.

I can now talk about a new set of adventures!  Spinning!  The easiest spindle to make according to my research uses a toy wheel and dowel.  Both easily available at a woodworking store about a mile from my home.  Most designs include a cup hook/eye hook at the top but I was too excited to actually begin.  A hook might have been easier, but a half hitch looped over the top fastened the yarn to the spindle worked just fine.  And I didn’t have  to wait until the battery charged on the drill,  so began using it as it was and it WORKED.

First Spinning

First Spinning

I yarned!  Well, made a “single” and just kept going and going.  Now I know I put too much twist into the single but it was FUN.  I took the spinning to one of my knit groups to show off, and the other spinners looked at me in amazement and said, where is the notch?  You are spinning with a drop spindle without a NOTCH??  You are braver than me!

I could see their point – the “cop” or bunch of twisted single wound on the spindle was getting big enough that the angle had changed and the half hitch was slipping, showing how the drop spindle earned its name.  DROP spindle…it DROPS to the floor.  No sharp implements with me to modify the design so when I got home I hacked a notch in the side of the wheel (“whorl”) and another at the top of the spindle itself.  Really holds the half-hitch in place MUCH better.

One of the experienced spinners suggested winding the single into a center pull ball and pulling from both ends to ply, or twist the single into a real, true yarn.

The ball winder fastens onto the kitchen counter and I got the brilliant idea to use the in-sink dish drainer to help support the spindle while I wound off onto the ball winder.  Perfect!  I held the first ball of ready-to-be-plied single in my hot little hands and grabbed the spindle to start on the next part of my journey.

A plastic cup made a good ball holder on the floor along side of me, or so I thought.  A tangled mess.  So I grasped the cup and held the two ends apart, allowing the ball to twist. Success!

I didn’t know how much twist to put in the yarn, but since I twisted the life out of the yarn on the first go around decided to do the same with plying.  Got to the end of the ball and the first plying was done!

A “swift” would make the next step easier, but my keyboard drawer is right there so I unwound the spindle onto the drawer to make a skein.  The diameter is 47 inches and I calculated that the first skein was about 30 yards.  Wow!  That is a lot…and then not much at all.  No problem, I can make more!

So I did.

Spinning adventures continue!

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