Thursday, June 6, 2013

Make an Easy Drop Spindle for $1.75


Once our gang started spinning, it became apparent that we were gonna need more drop spindles.  I've fallen in love with my Ashford drop spindle, but it cost almost 20 dollars.  With all of us spinning, three spindles were not enough, and then when we all started plying from those spindles onto another spindle...

Well, we needed more.

I thought about buying them.  But at the price of my Ashford I might as well go out and buy a spinning wheel - which is already on the wish list. 

I went looking for bargain spindles at the Spring Fair.  There were some cheap drop spindles for sale.  $7 wasn't too bad, but the quality was pretty poor.  And well, they looked pretty easy to make.

After consulting several sources, and realizing what simple tools these are, I found exactly the supplies I needed to make them.  I know, sometimes it's not worth the fuss to make it, especially if you are busy.  But in this case it was totally worth it.

We were able to find what we needed at Hobby Lobby.  The dowels were even precut, making this about the easiest project ever. 

You will need only three things:

1.  Toy wooden wheels.

2.  Dowels to fit inside.  (check the diameter on the package)

3.  Small cuphooks.

That's it.

All you do is:

1.  Drill a small hole in the end of your dowel for the cuphook.

2.  Notch out the bottom of the wheel however you like.  (Do this before you put it all together)

3.  Push the wheel onto the dowel, about an inch or less from the top.

Usually the fit is tight enough you don't even have to glue it!

4.  Screw the cup hook into your drilled hole at the top.

 And Voila!  You have a drop spindle. Or many of them.  It's that easy.

Did I mention that the cost per spindle is $1.75 or less? 

We now have a bunch of them.

Enough for every kid at our house to have their own. 

Enough for plying. 

Enough to personalize!  My kids can't wait to paint theirs this week.

As a side note, I spun my first alpaca yarn.  It is scrumptious.  This was not from commercially prepared roving.  This was the free stuff from the farm up the road.  Not the easiest stuff to learn on, and it's been a lot of trial and error, and accidental felting.  But I now have ONE precious skein of the stuff.  It's drying............

If you are interested, see our family's experience with drop spindles,
And my first project made with hand-spun from start to finish.
And stay-tuned for upcoming tutorials on skirting and washing wool for spinning.

Who knew baby gates were so versatile?

Sharing with:

Tami Ami's Work in Progress Wednesday
Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On
Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday


  1. Amazing about the spindles! I'm going to stop shopping for them and start making. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this! I have been looking at an Ashford spindle and trying to determine what, exactly I wanted. But I know the kids will want their own, too. Much more cost effective this way! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial! I want to try it out, but, just out of curiosity (so I do it correctly), why do you need to put the notches in the wheel? Does it help the spindle spin properly?

    1. Kaitlin,
      The notches at the bottom of the wheel 'catch' the yarn and hold it in place. They are not completely necessary, and when I started out, I had no idea why they were there, but as I kept spinning I noticed it was easier if the yarn caught on the notch, and then figured it out myself. I thought it was a defect in the first one that I bought, :), but the second one we purchased had them too and from using them it made sense. Hope that helps. Maybe someday I'll put together a drop spindle tutorial. However, YouTube was also helpful, but maybe not so much with explaining what those tiny notches are for.
      Happy Spinning!

    2. Thank you very much that makes alot of sense. I will go to the craft store soon to make my drop spindle.

  4. Does this pattern make a Top/Hi or a Bottom Whorl.

    1. That depends on where you place the wheel. With this DIY, it really is entirely up to you. :)

      If you aren't sure which you would prefer, try it multiple ways before (or if) you glue the wheel into position. When you find what works best for you, you can glue the wheel into place and be set!

    2. This is a great comment, thanks! It is true that you can easily do either. Many of these I have not had to glue, because the fit is 'perfect' so you could try both and see what works for you, top or bottom, and then glue as Laynie suggested. However, not that the example I show is a Top whorl, if that helps.

  5. Hello, what is the diameter of the wheels?

  6. I think it is 2 1/2 inches in diameter. And 3/4 inch thick. Hope that helps!