Imagine me squealing with excitement as I write this post…..
Experimenting with different methods of making hand spun yarn is so much fun! My spinning wheel has brought me a lot of delight and the Turkish drop spindle has been fun from time to time. But to be honest I haven’t been using my wheel much this winter because well…I want to sit on the couch under a cozy blanket and using the wheel means my toes will be cold!
I could of been practicing with my Turkish drop spindle, but it too, takes more energy than I possess. To use it I would have to sit at the edge of my comfy spot or even stand to get a good draft going on. No, my drop spindle remains just a favorite way to wind a center-pull ball. So instead of spinning yarn my hands have been busy with knitting needles, that is not a bad thing, it’s been enjoyable and productive. But, my creative soul has been yearning to get some yarn spinning done.
So what did I do? …I watched some Youtube videos about Support Spindling!
The next trouble was that we have been covered in snow and ice-so much that sitting in the cabin next to the wood stove is really the best place to be. Traveling to my local fiber arts store to shop for a support spindle is not so inspiring right now-except the shopping part. The other alternative was to order one online…and then I would have to employ patients! So really there was only one choice:
I had to make one myself.
A few Pinterest searches did lend me a couple of ideas, and some sketchy instructions…but in the end I used what I had around the house to create my own version.
It just so happens that seven is my lucky number and it turns out you only need 7 items to create this one-of-a-kind Washispool Support Spindle:
- one 12″ wood dowel (that fits in the center of #2)
- an empty spool of thread
- pretty washi tape
- three washers that can slide as snug as possible on the dowel
- industrial strength glue (in a pinch hot glue could work, but I would trust it to last long)
- a pencil sharpener (non-electric)
First off you want to use the pencil sharpener to create tips on each end of the wooden dowel:
Notice that the top picture is the bottom of my spindle and comes to more of a point than the bottom-pictured top of the spindle. Perhaps I should make that less confusing- make one end of the dowel a little sharper of a point than the other. The sharper point will be the bottom of your spindle.
Next, use the sand paper to flatten the tips a bit-you don’t want it to be “stabby”. And also run in around the tip and up the dowel some if you want to smooth out nice. Sometimes craft dowels can have rough spots.
After that is done it is time to prep your spool that will be the weight that creates a nice spin.
(I didn’t have another empty-or close to empty spool for the photos, so just imagine that purple thread isn’t there...)
This is a step you could skip. The purpose of covering the spool with washi tape is to make it pretty. You could also paint it-but then you would have to wait for it to dry! ( a problem with patients? who me?)
To cover the spool with washi tape I started with the ends creating X’s of tape across the top and down on each side, squishing it to shape around the round edge. As each piece was layered, I took the dowel and poked in the center to make sure the hole didn’t go missing. You could probably do more than one layer of tape before punching the hole, but I just went a head and punched it each time I put a new piece of tape on.
After you have the ends covered nicely, wrap the tape around the middle until you get a smooth nice looking center. The end of my tape does keep coming loose as I am spinning-so you might want to put a dot of regular glue underneath that last edge.
Now it is time to slide the spool onto the dowel, add two washer to the bottom and one on the top. (remember to pretend that purple thread is not there…and now it should be all pretty with washi tape or paint)
You will want to position the spool about 2″ from the tip. Place some of that industrial glue around the end of the spool close to the dowel, and then squish the first washer against it. ( I used a pencil to do this ) Add another few drops of glue on top of the first washer and secure the second. Do this same process on the top side with just the one washer.
The reason I placed two washers at the bottom of the spool is to create a little bit more weight at the bottom. You may not need or want to do this. My spool is very light plastic. A wood one would probably have enough weight. Also, it is a desirable thing to have a light spindle-but I had read that beginners should start with a heavier one, so I figured added weight would help my untrained hands.
Last but not least…wait for it to dry! Ahem. yes, I said: “wait”. Sorry it does require a little patients. But:
While you wait watch this video on how to spin with a support spindle, it is the best one I found out there:
It took me a few tries to start my leader. I am used to using scrap yarn-I didn’t try it but you could probably use scrap yarn. So here is my tip that is hard to see in this video and in any others as well-
**After you wrap the fiber around the shaft of the spindle and bring it straight up to start adding twist, you need to pinch the fiber at the tip of the spindle where you are turning it with your fingers and keep pinching it as you turn. If all you do is turn the spindle, the fiber will just pull from your hand and wrap around it.
Now, grab a little smooth bottom bowl and bit of fiber and give it a try! I recommend you watch the above video while trying, pausing to practice when needed. Also, I had best results with using a longer stable fiber (just as Lori mentions in the video)-short staple fiber such as Alpaca is hard to manage when you are first trying to figure it out.
Look! The Washispool Spindle works! (squeals!)
Happy Day! Happy Spinning!