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, so that I have a longer shaft, but you can use a standard hook if you like.
Use your oven-bake clay to make a "pancake" shape like ours up there. 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.
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.
Take your hook, and push it through the center of your (still soft) clay whorl. If you are using a non-in-line hook (such as a Boye) 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, you 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.
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. This one that I made 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 has 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 attempt.|
|My spindle nearly full of Merino/Silk yarn.|
If you make one with my directions here, I'd love to see pictures on my facebook page!