You can make your own drop spindle!
Really, this is so easy. You can make your own drop spindle out of a metal Tunisian crochet hook and some oven-bake clay. You won’t be able to crochet with the hook after turning it into a spindle though, so keep that in mind, and use a hook that you won’t mind not crocheting with anymore. I like to use a Tunisian hook, which is longer than a standard crochet hook, in order to make a long shaft for my spindle.
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I used one of these 14″ long Boye Tunisian crochet hooks from Annie’s. The hook I used was a size H/5 mm crochet hook, but any size fairly close to that would work just fine.
Start by shaping the whorl out of clay
Use your oven-bake clay to make a “pancake” shape like mine. The diameter of your whorl does not need to be an exact size. My clay whorl turned out to be about 2 3/4″ across, but I have a wonderful commercially made spindle with a 4″ whorl. So somewhere in that ballpark is great. I suggest you work with and bake the clay on a piece of parchment paper.
I usually have to spend some time working the clay to soften it up enough, and as you can see, I mixed colors. Once you have your colors mixed, and your clay soft enough, roll it between your hand and a hard flat surface to make a ball. Then use the bottom of a smooth glass cup or bowl to smoosh it flat so it is about 1/4″ thick.
Ideally the whorl of your spindle, the part you are making with the clay, should be perfectly symmetrical and smooth. Use a ruler to measure across the widest point of your whorl. Mark a faint line through the center with a toothpick. Then measure perpendicular to that line and mark through the center again so that you have small X in the center of your whorl.
If you plan to make a top-whorl spindle, you’ll want to make a small notch along the edge in one spot. You can cut a very small notch with a butter knife. I did not do this, because I made a bottom-whorl spindle.
Attaching the shaft
Take your hook, and push the hook end into the center X on your clay whorl. Twirl it back and forth a bit to make the hole in the center of your whorl.
Baking the clay
Once you have the hole, take out the hook, and bake the clay whorl using the directions on your clay package, or use Google to find the directions for your brand of clay online. Mine needed to bake at 15 minutes at one temperature, and then another 15 minutes at a slightly higher temperature.
Assembling the drop spindle
After baking, let it cool just a bit. When it is cool enough to handle without burning yourself, set the whorl flat on your fingers. Push the hook end of your Tunisian crochet hook through the hole and between your fingers. It should be a snug fit. For a top-whorl spindle, push the whorl down only an inch or two. For a bottom whorl spindle, push the whorl down a couple of inches from the stopper at the bottom of the hook.
I suggest putting a bit of craft glue around the shaft just before you slide it the last little bit, so that the whorl will slide over the glue to help hold it. Then you’re finished!
I actually made my first clay and Tunisian crochet hook drop spindle several years ago. It was my favorite spindle! Eventually the clay whorl came loose and I couldn’t use it anymore. So it’s possible that yours will wear out at some point. I just finished making my second clay and Tunisian crochet hook spindle and look forward to using it! My first one was my favorite because I really liked having the hook at the top of the shaft instead of the notch that a lot of bottom whorl spindles have. The hook makes it much easier to get my yarn to stay put.
What does your favorite drop spindle look like? Where did you get it? Did you make it?