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How to spin with a drop spindle: Video tutorial #1

Here’s video #1 in a series of four videos on how to spin with a top-whorl drop spindle. In this video we cover the basics, step by step:

  • how to get started without a leader
  • how to work with two different types of wool preparations,
  • a detailed explanation and demonstration of the spin/park/pinch/draft method

Key points to remember:

  • Spin, Park, Pinch, Draft
  • Pick one direction to spin in, and don’t change it. (You can put a little piece of masking tape with an arrow drawn in the correct direction if that will help; just remember you have to change it to the other direction when you ply)
  • Keep an eye on the spinning of your spindle. You do not want it to stop spinning and then spin in the opposite direction, taking the twist out of your fiber.

The amount of twist you need in a single that will be plied depends on how much fiber is in the single. A thick single doesn’t need as much twist as a thin single does. A thin single needs a lot of twist or the fibers will drift apart. So, after you’ve spun a little bit, break a length of the single off and let it twist back on itself RIGHT AFTER you spin it, you can see how much ply twist you need, and you can see if the final yarn feels like what you were looking for. (This doesn’t work if you let the single sit for a while before breaking off that test piece.) In a thick single, there’s more fiber, so less twist is needed, and it’s really easy to over-spin. You need just enough twist so that the fibers don’t drift apart.

Drop spindle video #1