How to spin using a simple drop spindle
If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, you may also be curious about spinning. The art of spinning allows you to take wool or other fibre and turn it into yarn. In doing so, you can create your own yarn creations combining your favourite weights, textures and colours. Learning to spin well takes practice, but eventually you can use your drop spindle to create your own knitting yarn on a regular basis.
Tie a length of commercial yarn to your drop spindle. You want the yarn to be at least 12 inches long so it will have room to tie to your spindle and hang off the top a little bit. This yarn is known as your leader, and it will help you start spinning your own yarn from fibres.
For a top-whorl spindle (where the whorl or disc is near the hook), tie the commercial yarn in a knot under the whorl and bring it up and over the whorl, catching it on the hook. For a bottom-whorl spindle, tie the knot above the whorl and wind it up the length of the shaft, then catch it on the hook.
Fluff out the end of your leader yarn to separate the fibres. This is how you will latch the leader yarn onto your working fibre in order to start spinning the yarn.
Wrap a length of your fibre around your non-dominant wrist; pull some of it down into the palm of your hand. Bring the leader yarn up into this hand and pinch it together with a tuft of your wool. Use your dominant hand to spin the spindle clockwise; as the twist from the spindle winds up the leader yarn it will catch onto the fibre and twist it into yarn.
Draft out more wool by pulling a few fibres at a time and letting them catch onto the twisting yarn. Hold the rest of the fibre securely in your non-dominant hand, and use your dominant hand to continue to turn the spindle clockwise and pinch the yarn as it twists to help it stay even in its size.
Stop the spindle in your lap once you have a fairly long length of yarn from your spinning, and wrap the yarn in a cone shape onto your spindle shaft. Then continue to draft and spin until you have used all of your fibre.
Take the yarn off the spindle and wind it into a longer skein around your forearm (from your palm to your elbow and back around again). Tie this skein in two places with a scrap piece of yarn to keep it from unwinding, and soak it in warm water mixed with a mild shampoo for approximately 30 minutes. Hang it up to dry over a coat hanger; if it twists on itself too much, weight it down by hanging another hanger off the loop. When dry, it will be ready to use.