How to Spin Yarn: Part 2, Spinning on a Drop Spindle | Ancestral Evolution | Skillshare

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How to Spin Yarn: Part 2, Spinning on a Drop Spindle

teacher avatar Ancestral Evolution, Traditional skills for the modern world

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Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials and Project

    • 3. Choosing a Drop Spindle

    • 4. Attaching a Leader

    • 5. Park and Draft Spinning

    • 6. Drop and Spin (Continuous Spinning)

    • 7. How to Ply Your Yarn

    • 8. Troubleshooting

    • 9. Final Thoughts

    • 10. Bonus: Spinning without a Leader

    • 11. Bonus: Spinning without a Hook

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About This Class

Welcome to "Spinning on a Drop Spindle"! This is the second class in my series on spinning. Although it is not necessary, it may be helpful for you to watch part one of my spinning series prior to taking this class. This class is geared towards beginning spinners, but there are also pearls for more advanced spinners to improve their drop spinning skills! This class will cover the following topics:

  • How to choose a drop spindle
  • How to attach a leader to your drop spindle
  • How to spin using a park and draft method
  • How to spin using the drop and spin method (continuous spinning)
  • How to ply your yarn (simple 2-ply)
  • How to avoid and fix things that can go wrong

As far as materials go, there are only a few things you are going to need:

  • a drop spindle
  • wool roving
  • a piece of commercial yarn (~3-4 ft)

If you do not have a drop spindle already, check out this Youtube video to learn how to make your own with things you probably already have.

Hope you join us for this class. It should be a lot of fun! Get ready to spin :)

Music Credit: "Arkansas Traveler" by Nat Keefe and Hot Buttered Rum

Meet Your Teacher

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Ancestral Evolution

Traditional skills for the modern world


Hello, we are Eliza and Dave! Join us on our adventures with homesteading, the ketogenic diet, and science of natural living. We run a small farm with a flock of fiber animals made up of several different kinds of sheep and a guard llama named "Banjo." We look forward to sharing what we've learned along the way with the Skillshare community. Whether you are thinking about starting a small farm or just embarking on a journey into fiber, we hope to have something for you!

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1. Introduction: Hey there, I'm Eliza with ancestral evolution. I'd been spinning since I was about eight years old. And my husband and I together run a small fiber farm made up of a bunch of different kinds of sheep and also a guard Lama named Ben Jim. Today I'm going to be sharing with you part two of my series on spinning. And we're going to be talking about the drops below. If you haven't checked out part one of my series on spinning, you'll want to check that out on the basic principles of spinning. The next class in the series is going to be about spinning on a spinning wheel. In today's class, we are going to be talking about the basics, spinning on a drug spindle. Today we're gonna be talking about how to choose a drop spindle, the different types of drugs spindles and why you might want to choose one over another. We're gonna be talking about how to attach a leader to drop spindle. How to spin a single on a dropped spindle using a park and draft method and also how to spin a single using a drug, the drug spinning method. Next we're gonna talk about how to do a simple two-ply using a drop spindle. And last but not least, we're going to talk about kind of the things that can go wrong with drops, mumbles, Alright, so I hope you join us for this class. It should be a lot of fun and you should end up with a lot of awesome yarn at the end of it. 2. Materials and Project: Before we get started, there are a couple of things you're gonna need for this class. First, of course, you're going to need a dropped spindle. Next you're going to need a length of commercial yarn, about three or four feet long. Acrylic is fine. And you're going to need some. Well, that's all there is to it. Your project for this class is to span your own yarn using a drop spindle. It could be a single, it could be a two-ply whenever you wanna do is fine. Also tell me a little bit about your processes spinning, how did it go? What kinda drops spindle did you use to spin it? Please take a picture of the yarn that you spun along with your drug spindle and put it in the class projects. I'll take a look and let you know, I think, alright, let's get started. 3. Choosing a Drop Spindle: Before we actually get started spinning, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what a dropped spindle actually is and what different types of dropped spindles you might see on the market. And the best way to choose a dropped spindle for you. Now, if you look at a drop spindle, it has a couple basic parts. You'll notice the long part is the shaft, the round part with the weight is called the world. Then of course you have the hook. Now, if you hold a drought spindle by the hook and look at the location of the world. Is it at the top of the shaft or is it at the bottom of the shaft? If it is at the top of the shaft, then it's what's called a top worlds spindle. If it's at the bottom of the shaft, is what's called a bottom world spindle. Now, top world spindles in general are going to spin faster. So you're going to build up twist faster in you can spin yarns with finer fiber and shorter staple length. The bottom world spindles are going to spin a little bit more slowly, but they are going to spin a little bit longer. And that is going to be better for spinning sort of thicker yarns or fibers with a longer staple length. I like spinning with a top world spindle because I find that I can spin most efficiently that way. And it's also what I'm used to. But if you have a bottom worlds spindle, feel free to do that. Everything I'm gonna be talking about in this class can be applied to a bottom rural spindle. If you have one, that's totally fine. The next thing you're going to look at when you think about a drop spindle is, how big your whirl is or the weight of the spindle. For a beginner, I recommend picking a drop spindle that's about between two to three ounces. This one is about 2.5 ounces and I love it. The heavier ones are going to spin a little bit longer, which gives you a little bit more time to figure out your drafting. The lighter dropped spindles are not going to spin as long. So it doesn't give you quite as much wiggle room in terms of grafting. In general, the lighter the world, the thinner the yarn you're going to be up to spin with it. But like I said, for beginners, I recommend between 23 ounces, I think is the sweet spot. Alright, so let's get spinning. 4. Attaching a Leader: So first things first, we're gonna need to attach a leader to our drop spindle. Now you're gonna take your length of commercial yarn. I said this is about four feet or so and you're just going to double it over. This is acrylic yarn by the way, you could use something else also and just tie a little knot. Next, you are going to put the loop around the bottom, just underneath the world. And put the not through there. So it just makes a loop and it's attached there. Then you're gonna take your leader through the little notch on the side of your dock spindle and hook it around your hook. And there you go, your leader is attached. Now, for more advanced spinners, There is a way to start spinning on your drop spindle without using a leader. And I will put a little bonus section at the end showing you how to do that. It's not hard. But for beginners, using a leader is probably the easiest way to start. 5. Park and Draft Spinning: So the first thing you wanna do is look at your fiber and take out a piece of it. And you may want to kind of pre-drafting. So like the drafting we talked about in Part One, you're just kind of get a pull and kinda loosen up your fibers. So it's a little bit easier to draft once you actually get started spinning. You don't want them too tight, otherwise you're gonna be fighting with it. And you're going to end up with a bunch of lumps. Alright? So you've got your leader on there through the notch and around the hook. And what you're gonna do is you're just going to build up a bunch of twist in this leader. Now, the way I like to get my drop spindles spinning is to kind of run it down my leg with my hand and get lots and lots of twists in there. And once you have a bunch of twist, then you're going to park it. You're gonna stick it underneath your armpit. And then you are going to take your yarn. You're all here. And you can take this and kind of wind it around underneath the world. You're gonna hook around, hook again. And here we go. We're gonna spin it. Dilemma. Lots of twist until it stops and then stick it underneath your arm. And then you're going to pinch with one hand and you're gonna draft with the other hand. And let the twist travel. And then you're going to put it, wind it onto your DOM spindle. So build up lots of twist per bucket. You're going to control the twists with one hand just like we did in part one and draft. Let the twist in, move your pinch and draft. And then put more twist in there. And you're just gonna keep doing this until you're done. The nice thing about the park and draft method is that you only have to concentrate on one thing at a time. You twist, and then you do your drafting. And you don't have to worry about your drop spindle dropping on you, which is nice. So again, you drafted out Sam and then you're just going to roll it up on the bottom of your drug spindle, just like that. And you're gonna start kinda developing a little bump of yarn underneath the world. And that bump is actually called a COP, COP. So if you see that term in any books or anything, that's what it's referring to. So that's the basics of Parkin draft, draft sprinkling. 6. Drop and Spin (Continuous Spinning): Alright, so next let's talk about how to actually spin a dropped spindle using the drop spin method. So what you're gonna do is like before you're gonna get your twist building up. But instead of parking it while you're drafting, your gonna draft while it's spinning. So you're gonna get it going. And then draft while it's spinning. Going, while it's spinning. Now it may take a little bit of practice to kind of know when you're dropped. Spindle is done spinning. Kinda keep an eye on it on the corner of your eye. Because what you don't want it to do is to start spinning backwards. Because what happened then is your yarn completely and spins. And you find out why this is called a drop spindle. Says, Oh, you want the spin always to be happening in one direction. And like I said, my method of generating spin is to just roll it down my leg. Some people just use a flick of the fingers and that works too. The other thing I just wanted to touch on briefly is how you hold your fiber. Because what can happen is when you're spinning on the drop spindle, the fiber that you have to be spun kinda gets tangled up in the fiber that you're spinning. So the way I mitigate this is I put the fiber that I'm going to be spinning over my arm like this. And then pinch. So it mostly is going to be staying out of the area where I'm drafting. Some people also use sort of like a wristband or something like that to kind of loosely old the fiber gets you wrist, so it doesn't drop down in there and get in the way. But I find doing it over my elbow works just fine. So twist. I'll also mention that you can spin standing up just fine or on a stool or something. I actually prefer doing a drop spindle when I'm standing up because it gives me a little bit more length to work with and I can spin more at one time rather than having to stop and start and stop and start. But sitting works just fine to you. All right? So that's the basic of the drop and spin method of spinning on a dropped spindle. 7. How to Ply Your Yarn: So let's talk a little bit about how to ply yarn using a drop spindle. There are a couple of ways to ply yarn after you spun a single On your drugs spindle. The first is to just take the single that you spun and wind it into a little ball and set it aside. Or you could wind it around something like a toilet paper tube or something like that. And set it aside. And once you've got enough spun, then you can apply those two together. Now, for applying, you can use the exact same spindle that you use to spin your singles. You're just going to spin it in the opposite direction. So for instance, when I was spinning my singles, I was spinning down my leg with my left hand. If I'm applying, i'm gonna come towards myself with my left hand. So it doesn't really matter whichever way you spin. You just need to make sure that you're spinning your singles One Direction and you're going to apply them in the opposite direction if that makes sense. So let me show you the easiest way, I think, to create a two-ply on the drop spindle, I think this way makes it so much easier. A prevents you from getting carpal tunnel while you're trying to spin your yarn. And B is just way more time efficient. So without further ado, you're gonna take a piece of paper. This is just an 8.5 by 11 them I cut in half. And you're just going to you wrap it pretty tightly, as tightly as you can around the bottom of this shaft underneath the world. And basically what we're doing is we're creating a little spindle. Once you've got it all nice and tight and wrapped on there, you're just going to tape along the length of it with some just scotch tape. Doesn't have to be perfect. You just want the edges to be nice and flush. Okay? And then you're gonna take a last little piece of tape and you're gonna stick the paper to the spindle so it doesn't rotate. Just like so. Alright. Now you are ready to spin, you're single. You're gonna tie your leader on the way you normally would, and you're just gonna spin your single the way you normally would. The only difference is when you wrap it on, you're going to wrap it on the part of the shaft with the paper and then we'll go from there. So once you're done spinning however much of your single you want to, you are going to take your spindle and just take the piece of tape that you taped it to the shaft of your spindle and stick it. And then you're just going to work the paper down the spindle and you're gonna kinda push your yarn on there so it's more centered on the paper. There we go. So it looks something like that. And then you're just gonna lie this off. And while you have your own little spindle, Now, once you've had, once you spun your singles onto here, you don't need to re-wrap this in a ball or a re-wrap it on it on a toilet paper tube. You've already got it on your handy-dandy little spindle. And I'll show you what I do with this to apply it. Now. So I have two of these, and they're both singles, and I both spun them the same direction. Like I said, you always want to spin your singles in one direction. And now when I apply them, I'm going to spin them in the opposite direction. So this is my low budget lazy Kate. And basically what this is, is it is a box with some knitting needles through it and it holds these spindles or the spindles from my spinning wheel and enables me to get them to stay in one place while I'm playing. So I'll show you what I do here. Like I said, these are just a metal knitting needles and I've just poked a hole through either side of the box. So you take your paper spindle and just thread it on to the knitting needles and thread it through the other side and it can spin freely. And if my other single, it's gonna do the same thing. Credit through. And there we go. We have our two singles and they're ready to apply. So when I'm gonna do to ply them is I'm gonna find the end of each of these guys. And I'm just going to tie it in a little not together. And then I'm gonna take that yarn and just tie it in a little knot underneath the world of your spindle. Just like so. Now you can put your box on the floor or on a surface where it's not gonna bounce around. If you don't have a box or a knitting needles or you don't care to make one of these little contractions. You can just stick your paper spindles into like a bowl or something like that. Um, but I think that this is very easy to make and it's super handy also for spinning on a spinning wheel. Or if you have a legitimate lazy kate not made out of a paper box, that is just fine to alright. So like I said, I have both of my ends here. And I'm going to bring the ends through the notch and hook them around the hook, just like we did before. Now, try not to get tangled up here. You want your yarn, you're singles on one side and your spin along the other. So I'm basically going to do the same thing I was doing with spinning singles, but I'm going to spin my spindle in the opposite direction. So bottom worlds spindles can be really great for plying yarn. And that is because a spin a little bit slower. So if you do have a bottom world spindle, plying is a great time to be using it. But like I said, you can ply just fine on a top roles spindle also. So if you remember when I was spinning my singles, I was going down my leg with my hand. Now because I'm playing, I'm gonna go the opposite direction. So I'm gonna go up my leg and get some nice twist in there. And let the twist travel and you're just gonna keep going. And you're gonna notice as you're applying, you don't need quite as much twist relative to the amount of twist you needed when you are spinning your singles to get your yarn to apply. So once you've got a nice length on there, same thing, you're gonna take it off and you're just going to wrap it around the bottom, underneath the world. And you're gonna do it again. So we're gonna take this towards me with my left hand. I think it's a nice twist. And then you're going to twist it on to the shaft of your spindle. I find that doing the plying this way using my makeshift lazy Kate with the paper spindles saves a lot of time. I used to be really frustrated by playing on a dock spindle. And for that reason I kind of gave it a rest and only use my wheel for a long time. But I really love using dropped spindles for different events. Whether it be somewhere where I'm demonstrating spinning or I'm just going somewhere and I can't take my big wheel with me. Drop spindles are great, versatile way to spin and all sorts of different environments. They're also very inexpensive compared to spinning wheels. Spinning wheels, you're going to be spinning multiple hundreds of dollars, if not close to 1000. And if you're getting a really nice, we'll drop spindles and you can find them for $10. You can also make your own. And I'll put a link in the, i'll put a link in the class description to a little YouTube video I made on how to make your own top worlds spindle using CDS and a chopstick. So this doesn't need to be an expensive hobby. They're easy to get these things. And like I said, you can pick them up. You can just do a quick Google search or Etsy is also a great place to find dropped spindles and also roving if you want to find the LU. All right, so I'm just gonna keep going plying all of this rule. And I'll see you back here in just a couple minutes. Alright, so after you get done applying both of your singles, just go ahead and cut the rest of the yarn. Inevitably, you'll have one of your singles that's longer than the other. That's perfectly fine. So just cutting it or tailor it and just tie a little knot at the end. And here's your plying the yarn. So what you can do at this point is to stick your spindle bag in a box or bowl or something. And you can create a scheme. If you have a nitty naughty, that's great. But if you don't, you can just use your arm and you're just gonna wrap your two-ply around your arm. All right? And there is your yarn. Then you can just kinda wrap your ends and tie a loose not to secure this gain with both of the loose ends here. Now to finish your yarn after you get done playing it, I suggest just getting it wit, soaking in water for about 15 minutes and then just hanging it up too dry and just let it dry. And there's no need to do anything else with that. And that's going to help even out the twisting your yarn. Because when you are applying it and when you're spinning it, there are certain areas that are going to have more or less twist and getting it wet and letting it dry out is just going to enable that twist to even out a little bit more and just relax. And so you're gonna get and more even and a more balanced to yarn. Now if you're wondering with your yarn what weight of yarn that you spawn, or if you're wondering how many yards you spun, you should check them out. My class on knitting with hand spun. And that class goes through sort of how to quantify hand spun yard if you're wanting to know some of that. Alright, so there you go. Very nice two-ply yarn. 8. Troubleshooting: So let's talk about some of the things that can go wrong when you're spinning on a drug spindle. So the first thing and probably the most common thing that can go wrong is that you're dropped, spindle drops, and your yarn breaks. If that happens, then it's a sign that you do not have enough twist in your yarn. Remembered that twist is the glue that hold your yarn together. So either you are spinning in your drafting too quickly and it drops, or you are spinning and it's spinning in one direction. And you're drafting, drafting, drafting, drafting. And then it starts spinning in the other direction. And then all of the yarn that you've just spun just becomes unspoken. And eventually comes apart. And drops as well, waiting for it to do it. And there we go and drops that way. So the way you avoid that is a, it just takes a little bit of practice to know how much twist your specific fiber needs to kinda hold together. And some of that is just something that you get used to overtime. But the other thing is that when you're spinning, you just wanna make sure that you're dropped. Spindle is always spinning in the same direction. If you notice that it stops spinning or start spinning in the opposite direction, you want to grab it quick before it and spins on you. So in that way it's a little bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly or something like that. But you do have to keep an eye on the direction of the spin of your spindle while you're grafting and controlling twist with your fingers. So if your fiber does break on you, it's very easy to connect the two pieces again. And basically we're going to use twist to kind of glue the fibers together. Again. You're going to have your piece that was connected to you drop spindle and the end that it broke off of, you just kinda, kinda pinch them together. And then when you're spinning, build up a lot of twist and you're going to draft it out and just let the twist travel from one side of the break to the other. And they're going to just twist together. Stick just like glue. And that way you can fix any break in your yarn very easily. The second thing that can happen is that you can build up too much twist in your yard. If you build up too much twisting your yarn, you may find that you get these little pigtails kind of in your yarn. And that's the sign that you are getting too much twists and not enough drafting. So try to draft may be SMH quicker or don't spin it quite as much and see if you can get a little bit better balance there. And if that happens, you can just let it kind of spin and let some of the twist that you put in there come out of it. Okay, next thing that can happen is when you're spinning, sometimes the twist and gets into your drafting zone a little bit more than you want. And you end up with kind of a big lump like that. Part of that is in the preparation of your fiber. So if you find that your fiber is giving you lots of lumps and bumps when you're trying to spin it. You may want to spend a little bit more time on your Fiber preparation and also a little bit more time on your pre-drafting before you get Sit down to spin. That's gonna make your life so much easier. I've had to learn this lesson the hard way multiple times because I get lazy about fiber prep. But it really, really, really makes a difference and makes your spinning experienced so much nicer. So spend a little extra time prepping your fiber before you start spinning. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you've made it through to the end of this class. I hope you learned a little something and you were able to make your own piece of yarn. If you have any questions, feel free to put a comment and I'll do my best to answer it. Please remember to take a picture of the yarn that use FUN along with your graph spindle and put it in their projects tab and let me know how it was for you. And what you think is spinning. Stay tuned to my next class, which is going to be all about spinning yarn using a studio. All right, until next time. 10. Bonus: Spinning without a Leader: Let me show you how to attach your fiber to you drop spindle without using a leader. So what you're gonna do is you're just going to use your hook. And if you watched part one of my spinning classes, this is like the hook that your partner had. And you're just going to give it a little twist. And a little twist and kinda draft this, add a little bit. Give it some more twists. And when you have enough room, you can kinda start spinning this a little bit. And you want probably close to two feet or so of yarn. And once you have it on there, you're gonna take it down a notch and around. And then through the other side and then up onto the hook. And there you go. You've just spun your own leader. Pretty cool. Ha 11. Bonus: Spinning without a Hook: One other thing I wanted to mention just quickly is that if you have a bottom worlds spindle, sometimes you will not have a hook on the top, and that's fine. There's an alternative way to attach your leader. So, so if you have a bottom worlds spindle and it does not have a hook on it. Like before, you're just going to tie your leader and a knot. And you can just make a slipknot around the bottom. Now, instead of a hookup here, what you're gonna do is you're just gonna make a little hitch. So you're going to make a loop and just loop it around the top of your spindle. And this basically acts like a hook. And let me show you that again. So you're just going to have your leader here and twist it and wrap it around. And it just makes a little place where you're young, can hang off the top. So you can span on a spindle even without a hook using this method. Now, this is a little bit more cumbersome. When you need to wrap your yarn down around the shaft, you have to do the twist. But once you get and some practice with it, it's really not too bad at all.