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Do you want to learn how to spin your own wool into fabulous yarn?

This is a decent spindle to get to see if you like the hobby.  Ashford Drop Spindle Student https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001163E9G/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_9TcStb0DX035521K

If you can’t or don’t want to purchase, you can always make one using a CD (hopefully a blank or scratched one), a pencil and a rubber band.

Here is an unusual tutorial for an unusual DIY drop spindle.  (Personally, I think the vlogger is a bit on the crazy side, but I will let you decide!)

This one is extra simple, and I have done this before.  Works quite well.

My first one was home made.  Too bad I don’t have a picture of it.  It was a hunk of 2×4 that I had cut the corners off with a skill saw.  I had nailed the hunk onto a saw horse with a double headed nail.  Then i put the skill saw against the nail head and cut around it.  Just kept cutting off the corners until it was reasonably round.  When I removed the nail I had a perfectly (?) centered hole.  I shoved a long knitting needle through the hole and experimented with top-whorl or bottom-whorl.

The “Whorl” is the circular thing, and you can spin with it topside or downside.  Each has it’s benefits, you just have to see what works for you.  I used the cap of the knitting needle at the top to catch the yarn instead of using a cup hook — because I didn’t have one at the time.  I used a half-hitch to keep it there.  I found that I eventually had to stabilize the whorl with rubber bands at the top and bottom, shoving them as far into the hole as I could.

With the whorl at the top, I could run the spindle along my leg to get a faster spin, but it reached the floor sooner.  With bottom whorl, I could just reach down and give the spindle a twist and I had a longer spinning length before reaching the floor.  I personally prefer bottom whorl for this reason, but I can use both.

My first attempts at spinning were frustrating to say the least.  I was given a bag of junk wool.  It had sat around for a long time.  It was full of dung and sheep ticks.  Dead ones.  I never knew ticks could be so big.  As big as the word “big” here on this screen!  Dead.

I also had just purchased my first carding combs from the local barter faire.  Don’t know why, just I felt they were old, and they were something my grandmother might have used, and they were 10$.  (Yes, the money was the selling point).  I still use them.

After learning how to wash and card the wool, I set about spinning.  That thing is called a “DROP spindle” for a reason.  You have to know this starting out, because it is frustrating to have it drop without any yarn attached.  Usually because I forgot to spin the thing as I drug out the wool from the batch in my hand.  No twist means no yarn.  This dragging out is called Drafting.  It will also drop when I spin the “wrong” way.  Wrong means the opposite of my intended twist.  Otherwise, there is no wrong, actually.  There are names for twisiting one way versus the other.

It really helped when I had my homemade minions (children) to do the spindle twisting for me as I concentrated on drafting.  After a while, I got coordinated enough to actually make yarn.

Oh, and what yarn I made.  Another thing a beginner needs to know is that you will NOT get even yarn.  It will be bumpy and non-twisted in some spots and really thin and over twisted in other spots.  This is something I actually like, and I just cannot replicate any more.  Darn.

Here are some videos on the basics of using a drop spindle.  This incorporates drafting, twisting and wrapping the new yarn on the spindle so you can have a go at it again.

The leader she talks about is what you use to attach the wool to start spinning.  I have been spinning for years, and on both my spindle and my spinning wheels I use a commercial acrylic yarn with a loop on the end.  I wrap the wool through the loop, and it is easy to start spinning away.  Something else a beginner will do is get the other end of the wool caught up in the yarn.  Oh, well.  Sometimes I have to build up twist, stop the spindle against my leg, pull out the wool and allow the twist to travel up, then restart.

This instructor has a great set of videos to practice with.

Now.  Go out there and spin up some delicious yarn!  Let me know how you are getting along, post a picture or three!

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