I love learning new skills.
I’m a firm believer in “if you’re still breathing you should still be learning”.
But I also am a firm believer in not spending more mney than you need to when you’re first learning something.
That’s why I love me some DIY!
And these DIY drop spindles are one of my favorites.
Drop spindles are a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to get into spinning yarn.
And to find out if it’s something you want to spend time doing.
Because even though these are homemade and super simple to make, they are not gonna wear out any time soon.
I have to tell you that when I first learned to spin, I fell in love with the history of spinning. It’s fascinating to me.
People have been making ropes and twine and yarns for thousands of years.
The first spinning wheels were invented in China in about 1000 AD. But they didn’t actually make an appearance in France until sometime in the mid 18th century.
For 5000 years or so before that, all spinning was done on drop spindles similar to the ones we’re going to make today.
That’s kinda a “wow” for me.
I enjoy spinning and I’ve had a wheel for many years. But after taking a class on using drop spindles I decided to made some for myself.
And I thought I’d show y’all how easy it is to do.
Here’s what you need to make your own drop spindles:
- 3 wooden toy wheels about 2 inches in diameter
- 3 1/4 inch dowel rods 12 inches long (or 1 rod that is 3 feet long)
- some sand paper
- a pencil sharpener
Some drop spindles have a hook on the top, but I’ve never used one so I didn’t add one to mine.
The drop spindle has 2 parts. The whorl (which is the wheel), and the shaft.
Some drop spindles have a top whorl and some have a bottom whorl. We are making a bottom whorl drop spindle.
The toy wheels that I’m using here are pretty perfect. They already have to holes in the center which is a major plus.
And this size is great for a wide range of yarn. Except for lace weight.
You could use larger wheels, but the heavier they are the thicker your yarn has to be. If the yarn is too thin for the weight of the whorl, it will break.
I have seen all kinds of spindles made from all kinds of things, but these are so easy.
Here’s what you do:
Cut the dowel rod into 3 equal lengths. (Or get the ones that are already cut.)
That should be about 12 inches each. This will be your shaft.
Then, stick one end of each piece of dowel into a pencil sharpener and get a point on the end.
Next, take some sand paper and smooth off both the cut end and the pointy end.
I knock off the tip of the point as well.
The point helps it spin on your leg (if you use it that way), but you don’t want to poke a hole in yourself. 🙂
Assembling your drop spindles
All that’s left is to push and twist the pointy end of the shaft (dowel rod) through the hole in the whorl (wheel).
Make sure it’s on good. It should be really snug.
It’s not any fun at all to be spinning along and have the dowel come out!
And that’s all there is too it!
You could stain these or paint them if you wanted to. Just make sure it’s good and dry before you use them.
It would be awful to get paint all over your yarn.
A set of 3 is great because you could fill up 2 and then use the 3rd to ply on to.
Plying is what it’s called when you spin 2 or more lengths of yarn together.
So if you have 3 drop spindles, you would fill up 2 of them and then take those 2 strands that you just spun and then spin them together onto the 3rd one.
You can do all that with just one, you just have to slide the yarn off when it gets full and then spin the next one.
Then slide that one off and ply the two together back onto the spindle.
Altogether, this project for 3 spindles cost me $3.03.
Pretty cheap way to find out if spinning is for you!
How To Get Started Spinning
In order to make yarn, you’re going to need some fiber to spin with.
You can use pretty much any kind of fiber you can think of.
Wool from sheep is usually the thing that first comes to mind.
But you can spin cotton, flax, bamboo, silk, and even fiber from your pet’s!
Angora rabbits, anyone?
But to get you started with something easy, I suggest wool that is all ready to just spin.
So here’s a link to some wool roving to get you started.
So now you know how to make drop spindles. What kind of yarn are you going to spin first?