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How to Spin with a Drop Spindle

If you've purchased a Drop Spindle Spinning Kit or Basket these instructions are for you!

If you fancy a challenge, you can make your own drop spindle using an old CD and something that will fit inside the hole in the centre of the CD such as a chunky pencil, piece of dowel or a fat knitting needle!

(NB: Instructions are for working right handed!)

Your drop spindle comes with a leader attached (a piece of yarn which leads the fibres into a twist!), and a selection of fibre ready to be spun (colours may vary!)

Place the leader under the hook on the top of the spindle and hold the larger loop in your right hand, letting the spindle hang.

With your left hand hold the spindle shaft and practise twisting it clockwise and letting it spin first.

If this seems a bit out of control then you can sit down and PARK the spindle between your knees whilst you are teasing out or DRAFTING the fibres. This is called the PARK AND DRAFT technique -ie: instead of trying to keep the spindle spinning while you are teasing or drafting the fibres you park the spindle between your knees.

Ok! Put the spindle down and get some fibre!

Gently tease out/draft out a few fibres and twist them together.

Thread the twisted fibres through the large loop of the leader making sure the leader is still looped under

the hook, twist them together through the loop and back onto themselves, and pinch with your right finger and thumb, letting the spindle hang down.

Hold the rest of the fibre lightly in your right hand.

Ready to start spinning!

Twist the spindle shaft clockwise with your left hand and watch the twist run up the leader and into your twisted fibres.

Twist the spindle shaft clockwise again with your left hand [now - either let the spindle continue spinning or PARK between your knees!] then pinch your left finger and thumb on the spun fibres directly below your right finger and thumb.

Move your right finger and thumb about an inch (2-3cm!) back into the fibres you are holding in your right hand and gently pinch and tease/draft the fibres out until you have about 2-3 inches (6-8cm!) of drafted fibre.

Pinch this new place with your right finger and thumb, at the same time let go with your left hand – you have to keep that spindle spinning clockwise to watch the twist run up the fibres or, if you have PARKED while you DRAFTED the twist will run up once you let go with the left hand.

Yay! You are spinning!!

Twist the spindle shaft clockwise with your left hand again and leave to spin or PARK between your knees, pinch your left finger and thumb on the spun fibres directly below your right finger and thumb, move your right hand to tease/draft out the fibres, pinch, let go with the left, keep the spindle going or keep the spindle PARKED between your knees and admire the spun fibres …..

When you have spun about a yard of yarn (or when the spindle touches the ground…), unhook the leader and wind the leader and your spun yarn onto the spindle shaft below the spindle whorl (the whorl is the round, flat piece of wood that holds the spindle shaft!).

Leave a length of yarn to loop under the hook, pinch the yarn with your right hand, twist the spindle clockwise with your left and start spinning again.

Don’t stop spinning – you are keeping an ancient craft alive!

However, if you would like 1:1 crochet, knitting or drop spindle spinning tuition please contact me!

I am very happy to teach remotely via Facetime or Zoom, or I am usually less busy during the first half hour of a market, festival or fair, and if you bring along the kit’s price tag/business card then the first 20 minutes of tuition is free! (Usual cost is £8 for 20 minutes!)

'What happens if I run out of fibre?' I hear you cry!!

No worries!

Contact me to buy my custom blended batts and rolags of locally sourced Jacobs, Poll Dorset, Herdwick, Gotland, Shetland and commercially dyed Botany Lap fibres or - has a fabulous selection of all things to do with spinning and a visit to the shop in Dorchester is recommended!

And likewise are another source of amazing fibre!

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· I used about 100g of my Very Chunky Hand Spun Yarn (4wpi) and a pair of 10mm knitting needles – 6mm needles should be ok with an Aran weight yarn. · You will need an extra knitting


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