Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spinning using a drop spindle

Last winter on a trip to Dad and Pat's for the weekend I purchased a wooden drop spindle.  There was a sample of coarse wool with it.  I spin cotton with a takli which looks similar but it actually spins with the wide disk portion down when the drop spindle has that portion up.
Drop Spindle and Wool
The spindle will spin like a top as you draft the wool (pull it up).  Don't copy the placement of my hand for this process.  In order to take a picture and hold the drop spindle at the same time, I can't hold it in the correct.  When I am working it my palm is facing down and I am using my thumb and pointer to thin out (draft) the fibers so that they will spin appropriately.
Drop spindle ready to spin
In order for the fibers to spin into the thread, they need to be held at the base.  My drop spindle has a cut in the side of the top sphere.  The thread tucks into that portion then pulls up to the hook.  I have found it spins most effectively when pulled around the back of the hook and pulled to the inside.  
Setting up the drop spindle
When you set the spindle spinning, it will wind the fibers all the way up your feed unless you pinch it off.  Looking at this picture, you can see how the fibers are thicker going up into the center.  An important part of the process is to pinch off the fibers during the drafting process so that it isn't allowed to pull too far up the fiber.  If you don't do that, it will become too difficult to draft.
Un-pinched fiber being spun
As you are drafting, when you pinch it the fibers will wind together up to the point where you are pinching.  This little triangle of fibers will pull to a significant length of single ply thread.  The portion that you are seeing in this picture is only a small fraction of the width of the fiber that I'm working.  As I draft, I allow the fibers of the next section to pull into the draft.  That makes it look like you are moving the drafting back and forth across the width of fiber.
Holding the fiber properly
It took just over a week of late nights to spin the entire ball of fiber into single ply yarn. But when I reached this point, I realized that I hadn't purchased any bobbins.  I have a small spinning wheel on order.  Until I get the spinning wheel and see what I will need for bobbins, I don't really want to purchase a new bobbin.
I made it through my sample fiber!
I don't often think inside the box.  I prefer to walk down to the hardware store and think in there.  I actually had this idea before I walked to the hardware store.  The T's on the end can be removed and rotated to the other direction allowing you to put it on a spindle.  They also stop the single ply yarn from pushing off the end.  
Temporary bobbin
We were driving in the car while I was transferring it.  So I left the ends in the T position.  For someone driving by me it looked like I was doing a bicycle movement with my hands.  I held the bobbin in one hand and the drop spindle in the other and peddled away. I am sure that it looked hilarious for people watching me from other vehicles but it worked!
Single ply thread wound onto the bobbin

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