If you would like to learn how to spin, but buying a wheel just isn’t in your budget. Then here’s an easy and economical way to make you own drop spindle.
Go to a craft shop that sells wooden products and buy a wooden car wheel about 2-3 inches in diameter, this will be the whorl part of the spindle. The wheel has already been drilled with a hole in the exact center which will keep the spindle from wobbling when it spins.
Next you need to find a dowel rod that will fit snugly in the center hole of the wheel. This will be the shaft of your spindle. The dowel rods are 3 feet long when you purchase them. I cut my shaft at 9 or 12 inches, so 3 or 4 spindles can be made with one dowel rod.
After you have the dowel rod cut, push it into the center hole of your whorl (wheel) allowing about 1 to 1 1/2 inch to stick out the bottom. This is know as a low-whorl or bottom-whorl spindle.
Now, drill a small hole in the center of the shaft, in the end at the top. I use a 5/64″ drill bit. Purchase a 1/4″ cup hook and screw it into the top of the shaft. This acts as a “catch” for your yarn so that it doesn’t slip off the end while you are spinning. I usually sharpen the bottom end of the shaft to a dull point with a pencil sharpener so I can spin the spindle on a table top or in a small bowl like a top, if I want it supported.
You are now ready to add your “leader” yarn, to start your fiber on the spindle. You can use some home spun or store bought yarn around 12 to 14 inches in length. Tie this tightly to the shaft right above the whorl.
Next take the leader yarn over the side of the whorl, looped over the bottom inch that is sticking out, (this helps stabilize the yarn and balances the spin of the whorl) then back up over the side of the whorl and loop it onto the hook. Leave a couple of inches of yarn to start your fiber on.
Now you have an inexpensive tool to start learning to spin. Once you have mastered spinning on the spindle, learning to spin on the wheel will become much easier.