I'm off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Friday - my ninth year to get to make my pilgrimage. The main goal this year is to meet up with a bunch of new friends who want to learn how to make yarn with one of the oldest and simplest tools ever invented.
I thought I'd show you how I make spindles, which isn't new or original, but effective. I make these by the dozens so I have it down to a science.
Gather your supplies:
- Wooden dowel, 3/8" diameter, and at least a foot long. 14-16" is better.
- Metal screw eye. I buy them by the box - you can get individual ones at hardware stores.
- 2 recycled CDs. I find that the weight of 2 CDs is better than just one for beginners. You can see that I've put a label on my recycled CD and used a clear cover CD over it to protect the label. I've added teaching helps on the label so that we can remember the basic steps of the process. You don't have to do this unless you prefer your own design to the one that came on the old AOL CD you fished out of the trash.
- A rubber grommet to connect the CDs to the dowel. Again, I buy in bulk online through McMaster-Carr, but a hardware store will sell you singles. Get one that has an inside dimension of 3/8" and an outside dimension of 3/4"
- Sand paper
- Needle-nose pliers for opening up the screw eye.
- Cut your dowel to length with a circular saw or a hand saw. I get 4 out of a 48" long dowel, or 3 out of a 36" dowel.
- Sand your dowel to smooth off rough spots and sticky spots from those blasted price tags.
- Drill a pilot hole in one end of your dowel to make it easy to screw in the screw eye.
- Open the screw eye so that it's more of a hook shape.
- Screw the screw eye into the end of the dowel.
- Stack your two CDs together and insert the grommet. Takes a little elbow grease, but you want a pretty tight fit.
- Insert the dowel into the grommet and move it either to the "top whorl" or "bottom whorl" position, as you prefer.
- Spin some awesome yarn.
If you'll be in Maryland this weekend, I'll see you there. If not, call me for a drop spindle lesson soon, and we'll get you started on a fascinating and satisfying leisure activity in no time.