This winter I got back to my spinning wheel. The long afternoons mean that I’m either in the sitting room knitting or spinning otherwise I’m hijacked for a tournament of chess.
Talking to a friend recently, she was wondering whether to invest in a spinning wheel, and my advice, as always, was to get a drop spindle first. The process of spinning yarn is the same everywhere: it is merely stretched, twisted fibre – once you have the knack of drafting, parking, spinning and winding on, the wheel will be a lot easier. In fact, I can’t see anyone mastering the wheel without first grasping the basics on a spindle.
Drop spindles come in all shapes and sizes (and price brackets), but here is a fun project you can try with your children – to see if you would enjoy a drop spindle before investing in one, or just something to try on a rainy day.
Make You Own Drop Spindle
Some Plasticine or Blu-Tac
An old CD/DVD
1. Around the shaft of the pencil shape your plasticine or blu-tac. The heavier the better as this will improve spinning.
2. Add the CD and embed into the plasticine, shaping the plasticine to be equal on all sides and as close to the centre as possible.
3. Add your hook. You can try screwing it into the eraser end of the pencil, or give up and just use duct tape. You need to make sure the hook cannot move or spin on it’s own axis.
4. Take some fleece and start spinning! I know, that’s easier said than done, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube to help you on your way, this one is fairly straight-forward although she is using a bottom-whorl and you have made a top-whorl so simply wind your yarn under the CD like so:
And you’re on your way. Get spinning!