Very versatile, and perfectly portable: start spinning with drop spindles!
When it comes to drop spindles, there are so many different styles, sizes, and weights to choose from it can be overwhelming. Here’s a list of all the spindles we carry, with a little information to help you figure out which one is best for you!
The Amelia Light Weight Drop Spindle is one of our lightest weight spindles. Lightweight spindles are used for spinning short, super soft, slippery, or fine fibers (like angora, cotton, cashmere, and silk). This little guy was made right up the street from us here in Bath, Maine.
The Schacht Hi-Low 1" (1.1 oz) Drop Spindle is also small and lightweight. This little spindle gives you the option of using it with the whorl at the top or at the bottom, which is really convenient. Some folks prefer a high whorl, some prefer a low whorl– this way you can decide for yourself! Since it’s lightweight, this spindle is best used with soft, short or fine fibers.
Then there’s the Schacht Hi-Low 4" (3 oz) Drop Spindle, which is a bigger version of the spindle above. This medium weight spindle is great for a wide range of fibers, and you again have the option of using it as a high whorl or low whorl. So clever!
The Schacht Pear Tahkli Spindle is another lightweight spindle. Also used for delicate and short fibers, this one looks a little different than the rest with its pear-shaped whorl and brass shaft.
The Shotzee Medium Weight Cherry Wood Drop Spindle is a great all-around spindle for beginners and experts, alike. Medium weight and perfectly balanced, this versatile spindle can handle a broad spectrum of fibers and yarn types. These, and the spindles below are also made right here in Bath, Maine.
If you’re feeling fancy, I highly recommend the beautiful Shotzee Drop Spindle - Exotic Wood. Each delivery we get is a different combination of exotic woods, and each spindle is unique. These medium weight spindles are as perfectly balanced as their cherry wood siblings above.
The Louet High-Whorl Drop Spindle is another nicely balanced medium weight spindle that is well suited to the beginning spinner. Also available in low whorl form if you prefer – the Louet Low Whorl Drop Spindle.
Another great beginner spindle is the Ashford Classic Drop Spindle. This one is a low whorl, and it comes with very helpful instructions!
For all you serious spinners out there, you might be interested in the Ashford Drop Spindle Collection. This set includes 5 different sized spindles, and a stand to keep them prominently displayed (unless they’re buried under a pile of fiber like mine).
Another cool style of spindle is the Ashford Turkish Drop Spindle. Instead of a whorl, it has two “cross bars” that you wind the yarn around. What’s so cool about that, you ask? It makes it so your yarn is already wound into a convenient ball – all you have to do is slide the wooden pieces out when you’re done spinning!
Last but certainly not least, we have the Schacht Navajo Spindle. This is the largest spindle we have here in the shop. It rests on the floor, and is designed to be used for thigh spinning. This tool is especially useful if you want to spin thick or heavy yarn; it’s also a great choice for funky handspun art yarn.
Ready to give it a whorl?
Like driving a stick shift, it’s all about practicing until you get a feel for the rhythm. But how does one get started? We’ve set up a short photo tutorial to show you in just a few simple steps. From one beginner to another: don’t let it intimidate you!
Here are some helpful tips while you’re getting started:
• You don’t have to draft while spinning! Lots of drop spindle users will tuck the spindle between their knees or under their arm so they can draft comfortably without being rushed. Give it a twist and allow that length to spin; once it’s spun you can “park and draft” again!
• Once you understand the process, I encourage you to play with different hand positions and grips until you find a comfortable combination. I often change up my hand positions, and some work better for different fiber types
• Remember to stop and stretch now and then! Roll your shoulders and neck, and shake out your hands. This should be comfortable and fun so go easy on your body, especially as these are new movements and muscles!
• Don’t feel bad if you end up with thick and thin yarn. Textured, slubby yarns are awesome!
• Try to keep the yarn you’re spinning from becoming too thin. This will cause it to break, and your spindle will hit the floor with a crash. It’s inevitable at first, so don’t worry when it happens. Your spindle will be OK even if your pride is slightly damaged.
• Most importantly: There is no such thing as “wrong” yarn; I encourage you to get a feel for the motion, and don’t worry about creating a perfectly balanced, even yarn at first. Just have fun with it!
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