Drop Spindle Spinning

The spindle, one of humankind’s oldest tools, existed in many forms throughout many cultures for tens of thousands of years. Some of the earliest were basically just a stick used to assist in the twisting of fibers drawn out into thread, while also providing a place to store the yarn that had just been formed. Once a sufficient weight of yarn had been stored on the stick, it developed the ability to keep rotating, even when let go. These early spindles evolved into the suspended spindle (also called a drop spindle), which has a weight placed on the stick so it’s easier to keep it spinning from the start.

Despite its simplicity, the spindle is an incredibly productive tool that has been refined for specific purposes through trial and error. One major difference among spindles is where on the shaft the weight (called a whorl) is placed. On a high-whorl (or top-whorl) spindle, the weight is at or near the top of the shaft; on a low-whorl spindle, it is at or near the bottom. — excerpt from High Whorl, Low Whorl by Abby Franquemont, author of Respect the Spindle

We have gathered together a wide range of resources on Drop Spindle Spinning for you here! Enjoy articles from Spin Off editors past and present, along with popular Spin Off contributors like Kate Larson and Debbie Held! You’ll find free eBooks and tons of other great spinning resources! While you’re here, check out our shop for more great spinning resources.

A drop spindle is the perfect traveling companion. As I write this, I’m getting ready to travel to Tinkuy, an international gathering of weavers in Peru. My packing list grows longer by the minute: rain ponchos, audiobooks, hand sanitizer. Speaking with Maggie Casey today, she reminded me, “Don’t forget to pack a drop spindle.” I […]

Read More >

You’ve mastered spinning a singles yarn and now it is time to ply yarn. The concept is simple enough—just take two (or three, or four, or more) singles, hold them together, and ply them by twisting them in the opposite direction they were originally spun. Simple, but the possibilities are endless—how do you keep them […]

Read More >

Drop spindle spinning is a great way to make yarn. Two experts on spinning with a drop spindle, Maggie Casey and Abby Franquemont, have created great resources to help you learn how to handspin yarn and how to spin with a drop spindle in particular. Getting Started on A Drop Spindle and Respect the Spindle […]

Read More >