Step 1: Source your tools
To get started, all you need is fiber
, and a drop spindle
You can spin things other than fiber, but it's the best place to start.
These is a lot of specialist terminology in the world of fiber arts, and I'll try explain everything as we go. Please ask if anything is confusing or doesn't make sense.
We will help Drop spindle
Usually, a drop spindle looks like a short pole with a hook at the top, and a disk.. at the top or bottom. The disk is called a "whorl" and spindles can be either a "top whorl" or a "bottom whorl".
Bottom whorl Top Whorl
Wherever the whorl is, it still creates the same yarn. Just a different action to use them.
The size/weight of your spindle helps determine the thickness of your yarn
Tiny spindles are for thread-like thickness, large spindles are for larger thickness.
Both size extremes can be hard to use, so I'd stick with an average one to start with.
Buy one, or make your own!
Here are a few links to help you make your own
-with an old CDhttp://danielson.laurentian.ca/qualityoflife/Fulltext/Textiles/Making_a_cd_drop_spindle.htm http://www.instructables.com/id/Drop_Spindle_Constrution/http://www.spindleandwheel.com/content/view/15/76/
-with cardboard & pencil in one vid, or wooden toy wheels in the otherhttp://www.joyofhandspinning.com/make-dropspin.shtmlhttp://www.ehow.com/how_5577157_make-yarn-spindles.htmlFiber
To spin you can use many different fibers, and they come in all types of different forms.
There is so much information on this topic, it's staggering.
So I'll try keep things simplified.
Buy clean, prepared, fleece.
It can be undyed (cheaper) but it must be clean
You can buy fiber in lots of different forms, ready for spinning. Roving
, Combed Top
, are slightly different but all look pretty similar.
Like a long tube of fiber. Good to spin with
are flat and reactangle-ish, and can be sold rolled up or tied in a knot.
Also good to spin with
Batt open same Batt rolled up
To begin spinning, it's easier if you use a fiber with a long staple length
(ie, the length of each individual fiber is long)
:DBlue faced Leicester (BFL), Romney, Corriedale are very good wool breeds to begin with.
:)Merino is harder to start with. It has a shorter staple length but you can learn with it.
:-XPure Bamboo and silk are far too hard to start with. They're incredibly slippery, even to skilled spinnersHomework
(I told you there'd be homework
This session is for learning about, and sourcing equipment.
I'll wait until a substantial amount of you have your tools before going to the next step.
- Do a google image search on "drop spindle" and check out how many different types there are.
There are many more than I mentioned here (such as the turkish spindle) but I want to keep things simple & easy to begin with.
- Get a spindle
These are instructions on making one above, or there are plenty of places to purchase online (etsy, fiber stores, ebay). Wood turners also create gorgeous ones.
- Get a small amount of clean fiber.
Undyed wool is cheaper, and you don't need very much to get started. (and you can always dye it with kool-aid later)
50 grams or 1 ounce will be enough to see you through this tutorial series if you do each thing just once. But be warned - it is addictive and might be cheaper to buy more at once.
If you've found some good sources for materials, let us know!
Questions & Answers saved from this thread
1.) Top or Bottom whorl on my drop spindle?
A bottom whorl has the whorl weight at the bottom of the shaft and spins slower which is good for heavier yarns which need less twist in them. A top whorl has the weight at the top of the shaft and spins faster which is good for thinner yarns and fine fibers such as angora, alpaca, etc. But, you can spin thin yarn & fine fibers on a bottom whorl but you have to spin it harder as well as you can spin heavier yarn on a top whorl but need to spin it slower. Sometimes, new spinners like the faster top whorl because it spins longer and gives more time to pull the fibers into the twist. I personally prefer a bottom whorl because I find it doesn't wobble as much since the weight is on the bottom. Basically, they both spin yarn the same way and it is a matter of preference.
On the top vs bottom discussion.... I learned to spin on a HEAVY bottom whorl spindle, but now I teach everyone on a top whorl. I find they have a little more 'control' or I guess I could say 'hand space.'
I really prefer top spindles. You can also find top/bottom spindles that you can use as either so you can see what you like.
I'm the opposite of Jane. I spin on a top whorl spindle. I tried bottom but couldn't get the dang thing to stop wobbling.
2.) How much does it cost to make my drop spindle?
2 wood wheels $1.29, 20 dowels $.99, eye hooks $1.50(ish, lost the reciept) and some E6000 $2.50 (50% off coupons are great =D).
The break down for 2 spindles is like $1 each, and there's extra supplies for more if one breaks or I want to make more.
3.) Why is roving is cheaper than batts?
From what I've bought, roving is just one type of fiber (wool, BFL, merino, bamboo, etc) while a batt is many different fibers (plus things like sari silk, sheep locks, glitz, etc) combed together.
Yep - the mixture is part of the cost.
What also is different, is the amount of work gone in.
There is much more work involved in creating a batt than a dyed roving.
To sell roving, people buy a large amount of the white roving (in Australia, it's 20kgs at a time). The roving has been cleaned, carded, and prepared by machine. The seller then puts the wool into smaller batches and dyes the roving by hand.
To sell batts, people buy either white roving as above, or clean the fleece themselves by hand.
The wool is then dyed by hand.
Then the fibers are blended together using a drum carder (to create a batt)
The action of carding the fibers together can take a while aside from the designing time.
4.) How would you make a drop spindle from a toy wheel?
I just did this 3 days ago, it's really easy.
Go to the 'wood area' of a Jo-Ann's or Micheal's, look for wooden wheels, when I got mine it was 2 per package. Then select a dowel that will fit in the middle of your wheel, as close as possible, you can buy one and cut it later to about 12" or you can buy a package of 20 already cut to 12", your choice. Then go to the jewelry dept and find some eye hooks, they will have a threaded end. If you don't have something like crazy glue or E6000, you'll need some of that too.
1. Take your dowel and your wheel and check the fit, you may need to do some futzing here, I had to wrap some embroidery thread around my dowel to make the wheel fit better. When you have your fit to your liking, your going to put your glue of choice on the thread and dowel, just make sure your thread area is good and coated and then slip on your wheel. My wheel is about 2-2.5 inches from the end of the dowel. Make sure it's as straight as possible then place the dowel over the edge of a vase or cup so that your wheel is suspended in the middle, then let it dry overnight.
2. The next day, take out one eye hook and with a pair of pliers carefully open the hook, make it look similar to a cup hook. The screw it into the top of your new spindle. You will need to trim away some of the thread from beneath your wheel, I used some cuticle scissors and an emory board to clean that up.
3. Check your spindle and make sure it's not too rough, if you need to Curse me for not reminding you before hand about needing some sand paper, sand lightly til smooth or paint it, you choice.
PS. If you want a bottom whorl, on step 2 put your eye hook on the other end of the dowel. Seeing as you get 2 wheels per package you can have both to try out.
Here is the picture of mine, well truth be told it will be my sons spindle, he painted it Thomas the Train blue, and intends to paint a "1" on it to further the Thomas look.