© Richard R Danielson and Karen F. Danielson, 2004
We first prepared this presentation for WASOON 2004, the conference of weavers and spinners of Ontario North.
Your local hardware or building supply store is likely to carry blind well nuts, wooden dowels, and rubber grommets. We found our supplies at Home Depot. When you shop, it is a good idea to take a cd with you, so you can match the pieces where you buy them and ensure that the parts will fit snugly together. This is easy to do since you simply use the grommet and well nut to reduce the size of the gap in the center of the cd so that the dowel will fit snugly. If the three pieces fit tightly together, you can create a very well balanced spinning top. For the Wasoon spindle, we placed two cds in the grommet. It created a spindle of a good weight for plying and for spinning wool.
Press the rubber grommet into the center of the pair of cds and then insert the blind well nut into the grommet. There will be a groove between the blind well nut and the grommet where later, you will be able to attach a starter string.
We applied soft glycerine soap to the shaft of the spindle to facilitate insertion into the blind well nut. Keeping the 'groove above the grommet' on top, the point of the spindle was inserted from the upper side. The disks were pushed 1/4 of the way up the spindle to create a low whorl spindle. (for a high whorl spindle, keep the groove on the bottom and push the disks 3/4 of the way from the bottom of the spindle. The eye hook was inserted into the flat end at the top of the spindle.
A loop was formed on both ends of a starter string. One loop was attached in the 'groove above the grommet'. The string was then carried over the edge to below the disk, around the spindle and then back up over the edge of the disk and through the eye hook. (for the high whorl spindle simply take the string from the groove underneath the disk up over the edge of the disk and through the eye hook.
Beginning to spin.
Use the starter thread to learn about your spindle. Holding the free end of the starter string with one hand, learn to use the other hand to make the spindle spin.
Plying or combining existing threads is a good introduction to using this spindle. Sewing thread, ribbons or fine yarns can be made into shoe laces, hair accessories, bracelets, necklaces, drawstrings for bags, and ties for parcels.
To begin a short length of fibre or thread is looped through the free end of the starter string. Holding it firmly, spin the spindle until the twist is enough to hold this fibre in place. Then gradually lengthen the yarn as the spindle twists. The twist will strengthen the yarn and keep it in place.
Continue to lengthen the spun yarn in this way, allowing the spindle to descend. Before the spindle goes beyond your reach, pick it up and wind on the new thread you have created. Then proceed to repeatedly spin another length of thread and wind it on.
Tie knots in the ends of the cords to prevent unravelling. The orlec sample above was secured with heat shrinkable tubing that is used in electrical work.
For free web based information on how to use your spindle, please go to the following web sites. There are some excellent instructions, some beautiful spindles, great resources and useful discussion groups for people who use spindles.
Interweave Press - here you will find some free instructions for beginning to spin and some books and magazines that will help you with beginning to advanced spinning projects.
Connie Delaney on Spinning - this site has some free historical information and also some ideas for yarn projects.
Teri Pittman's spindle information - with information about discussion groups
The Joy of Handspinning - includes some video clips
Handspinning.com - spinning with a top whorl drop spindle and finishing your yarn.
Copyright: Richard Danielson PhD and Karen Danielson PhD. All rights reserved. Contact Us