21 March 2008


There are many different styles of drop spindles and a warning should be issued here - once you've mastered drop spindling there will be a temptation to COLLECT lots of them! I said, when I started, that I wasn't going to do that - but I'm up to 4 and I've had my eye on a few seen in Spin.Off and on the internet - just yesterday I saw a couple of gorgeous ones on Etsy (Oh no I can feel another obsession coming on)!

A starting point if you've never spun and would like to have a go is to buy or make a CD spindle - these are very light so for a more experienced spinner are not so easy to use. However if it's too light some blu-tac or other maleable material could be pressed around the edge to give more weight here - having more weight at the edge makes a spindle spin for longer due to cetrifugal force (apparently). I will try to find a site with instructions or where these are sold.

My most recent addition is a (possibly) Saxon spindle whorl - which doesn't yet have a shaft - it's carved stone - very pretty and supprisingly heavy for it's wee size - it weighs 15 grammes (1/2 oz) I can't wait to spin with it - have to find a wood turner first.....

My favourite spindle was a fourtieth birthday pressy - it's a Golding Ring Spindle. It spins forever and is an absolute joy to work with - it's a top whorl spindle which I think is more stable and easier to spin with than a bottom whorl one. I'm currently spinning some lovely caramel Alpaca fibre that I bought in Norwich during the Norwich & Norfolk Artists Open Studios.

My first ever spindle was a simple wooden one (bottom whorl) made by one of our Guild members. I paid very little for it except that having bought it I was instantly volunteered to demonstrate at a show in Harlow - Gosh you learn quickly when people are expectantly watching & waiting for your words of wisdom! Truth to tell it was almost as much drop as spindle that day but I did spin a sizable quantity of Black Sheep fleece that I'd been given and I learned and even began to enjoy drop spinning.

My second spindle is made of polymer clay with cute little sheep on it - I found it at West Dean's Wholly Herbs Show (Our guild demonstrates natural dying there once a year and a fellow stall holder was selling them) It's small and light and fits in a pocket - great for spinning on the go.

Sites for drop spindles:


Etsy shop - butterfly girl designs

glass drop spindles

Woolly Designs - with lambs, alpacas, rabbits........

how to make your own

how to use a drop spindle

video - spinning basics by Abby Franquemont

No comments: