Really, this is so easy. You can make your own drop spindle out of a metal 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, in order to make a long shaft for my spindle, but you can use a standard hook if you like.
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I recommend these Susan Bates tunisian hooks from Amazon.
I recommend Sculpey clay that you can order from Amazon in a variety of colors.
Making the spindle
Use your oven-bake clay to make a “pancake” shape like ours in the picture. I usually have to spend some time working the clay to soften it up enough, and as you can see, we mixed colors. Once you have your colors mixed, and your clay soft enough, roll it between your hands, or between a hard, flat surface and one hand 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″ to 1/2″ thick.
Ideally the whorl of your spindle, the part you are making with the clay, should be perfectly symmetrical and smooth, unless you want a top-whorl spindle, in which case you’ll want a notch somewhere around the edge to hook your yarn into. However, I have not gone to the trouble to measure to make sure that my hole for the shaft is dead center…I just eye-balled it, and my spindle works just fine, but you can measure and mark the spot with a toothpick if you prefer.
Take your hook, and push it through the center of your (still soft) clay whorl. If you are using a crochet hook with a hook that is larger around than the shaft then you will not want to push the hook end through, as this will make your hole too big. Your hole needs to be the same size as the shaft of your hook. If it is too big, then your whorl will not stay on your hook. If you have a tunisian hook with a stopper on the end, you will not want to push that stopper through it for the same reason.
Once you have the hole, take out the hook, and bake the clay whorl (see the directions on the clay package, or Google your clay brand to find them online). It should not take too long. Our whorls were only about 1/4″ (6mm) thick, and only needed to bake for about 15 minutes.
After baking, let it cool just a bit. When it is cool enough to touch, push it onto your hook. It should be a snug fit, and once the clay is cool, it should stay put pretty well. I’ve been using mine for a few weeks now, and the whorl is not moving around.
My girls and I made the whorls pictured above a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon because they wanted me to teach them how to spin. The one that I made for myself is my favorite spindle so far! It is light, and the hook helps hold the yarn on. I made mine as a bottom-whorl spindle. Other bottom-whorl spindles I’ve tried only have a groove in the top of the shaft to hold the yarn on, but I can’t get that to work for anything. The yarn won’t stay on! This homemade spindle has a hook at the top to hold my yarn on, which works great! And, my frustrations with top-whorl spindles have been pretty similar, yarn slipping out of the groove on the edge of the whorl. I’m not having those problems at all with my homemade spindle!
One of the girls’ spindles with her very first spinning attempt.
My spindle nearly full of Merino/Silk yarn.
What does your favorite drop spindle look like? Where did you get it? Did you make it?
Interested to read more about my spinning adventures? Find some of my spinning related posts here: