Handy Tip for Using a Drop Spindle

How to use a drop spindle, a handy tip by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

First, the problem

I just finished using my Ashford spinning wheel to ply this yarn. I spun the singles on this Schacht drop spindle. This yarn is special among my skeins of handspun because it is the first that I have dyed myself. It’s not my most favorite yarn ever, color-wise, but good enough that I am undeterred, and will dye again.

I stayed up rather late last night trying to get it all plied and off my spindle so that I could show you this tip, and not just tell you about it.

How to use a drop spindle, a handy tip by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

When I spin, I find that the cop of yarn I am building up will eventually start sliding around the shaft. This causes two really aggravating problems. First, the cop doesn’t stay firmly lodged against the whorl, so as I am winding on, sometimes my strand of yarn gets between the cop and the whorl and makes for a messy and tangled cop of yarn. The other problem is even worse. As I am spinning, the cop gets pulled on and unwinds, meaning that my spun yarn gets longer because yarn is coming unwound from the cop at the bottom, and I can’t spin very much in each length before winding on. Is that making sense? It’s difficult to describe.

The solution to my spinning woe

Do you see the slanted stripes of clear “stuff” on the shaft of my spindle, on the end nearest the whorl? Those are SO helpful!

So my solution was to plug in my hot glue gun and apply a corkscrew of hot glue around the shaft of my spindle, beginning at the whorl end. As you can see, I didn’t do this along the whole shaft, just the part that I would begin winding around. It’s such a simple thing, but it gives enough grip to the shaft to keep the cop still. Problem solved. It works perfectly.

How to use a drop spindle, a handy tip by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

Now, I realize that some people like to be able to slide the whole cop off after they finish spinning. If that’s your preference, you wouldn’t want to use my tip, because that corkscrew of hot glue prevents the yarn from sliding off the shaft, but I don’t remove my yarn that way. I place my drop spindle in a home made lazy kate, and either ply it straight from there, or wind it into a ball or skein. For me, the benefits of the hot glue corkscrew far outweigh the cost!

Want to see what I made with this colorful yarn?

This simple knit scarf makes a great pattern for a colorful handspun or handyed yarn! Get this free pattern here.

Happy spinning!

April

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Handy tip for spinning on a drop spindle with Banana Moon Studio.
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7 thoughts on “Handy Tip for Using a Drop Spindle”

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  2. Gayla Reinkens

    This process has always fascinated me… the spinning and dying of yarns. My grandmother taught me to crochet and tat when I was about 7 years old (am 63 now so ages ago) and would tell me stories about her grandmother spinning and dying her yarns. She also told me stories about when she’d make the dye’s. I remember one story in particular here, it was summer and the blackberries and blueberries were ripe and ready… and she took a dish towel, and showed me.. and then talked about all the colors in nature. Lots of fond amazing memories!

    1. I have fond memories of my grandma teaching me to spin as well. We visited once when I was young and got to help her comb and spin some white wool. We didn’t get to visit her often though, and that was my only spinning experience until I picked it up myself many years later after she had passed away.

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