Homemade spindles

>> Thursday, December 03, 2009

I forgot to mention, these beautiful knitting needles are from The Purple Purl, my new local knitting shop

As you know, I'm now a little spinning obsessed. I've bought a couple of spindles, because I love what they can do, and there are so many beautiful ones out there, plus it's a bit like knitting, you need extra ones so you can have more than one project on the go.

But I wanted more, and decided to figure out how I could make one myself. There's a few tutorials online, such as a cd spindle (just Google it for examples), this one made from a cardboard circle and a pencil, or even a potato on a stick. This is a good way to learn so that you can decide if you like spinning before you invest too much money. (If this has already happened feel free to mail me any spindles you don't want anymore. Just kidding. Sort of.)

My favourite idea is a drop spindle made from a wooden knob. Abby Franquemont's video Drop Spindle Basics shows you how to learn to spin with a low whorl drop spindle that is just a drawer pull (wooden knob) attached to a dowel.

I wanted to make one that was a little bit fancier, functional and even nice looking, while still not requiring any real woodworking skills. The results were better than I expected, and these handmade spindles work really well! The big trick was to use carved wooden knitting needles which added a nice decorative detail to the top and a smooth polished surface that tapers. But of course a piece of dowel is fine too.

Step 1:
Assemble your supplies. I used wooden knitting needles, vintage wooden knobs (in a variety of weights) from an antique store, a power drill, a scrap block of wood, hooks, pliers and wood glue.Step 2:
Use the pliers to open up the hooks. These ones have a triangular shape so that the yarn stays in place a bit better than a round hook.
Step 3:
Place the wooden knob on the piece of scrap wood so that you protect the work surface when you drill right through the knob. Make sure you drill right through the centre.Step 4:
Add wood glue to the top of the knitting needle (or dowel). Place the knob on the needle or dowel and let the glue dry.Wood glue starts out white but will dry clear:Step 5:
Drill a tiny pilot hole in the top of your knitting needle (or dowel). Use the smallest drill bit you have. Screw in the eyelet.
Extra options:
If you like you can saw a notch in the side of your whorl.

These are two of my finished spindles. They work beautifully!

6 comments:

Rachel December 04, 2009  

Beautiful job and they look like they work very well. I also learned to spin using Abby's video. I was so impatient to spin I used a knitting needle, wooden toy wheel and a rubber band.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/21862409@N05/tags/dropspindle/
The needle was a old plastic or bakelite, very slippery. I eventually glued the wheel onto a dowel and it is my favorite of the 3 home made types I have. Someday I hope to buy 'pretty' spindle from etsy or one of the wood workers that go to fiber fairs.

Jess December 04, 2009  

Wow. I love this! What a fantastic job you've done!

Sara December 04, 2009  

Wow, I'm impressed, I'll have to give this a go.

nikki December 06, 2009  

This is great. I was wondering how I could make one of these, and still make it pretty. Thank you so much for posting your spindle. I can't wait to try it.

Anonymous,  December 06, 2009  

Just so you know, white glue also wipes up easily when it's still wet. All you need is a damp rag, and you can get the excess off before it dries. Beautiful work!

n-tse December 06, 2009  

very clever and beautiful!

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