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You know you're wool nerds when you spend your anniversary building fiber prototypes. Guess what? They came out so nice! More about those in a future post.
For now, let's talk about drop spindles. A drop spindle generally has two components: a rod or shaft and some kind of head or topper. (These are, of course, my very technical terms. Wikipedia refers to these parts as a spike and a whorl.) It's a low tech, cost efficient option for spinning, and is a great way to start if you want to practice spinning technique.
To use a European drop spindle, you attach some wool and, well--you drop it. Imagine dropping the mic, but with fiber arts. Gravity pulls the spindle towards the ground, which stretches the wool taught. By adding a little spin to the strand, you twist your own yarn or thread. Then, you wind your new thread onto the shaft and start again. It's that simple.
One of the first videos Joseph ever made was how to spin with a European spindle that he made from a gavel. He loves using his spindle while he's waiting in line. When he's not spinning, he puts the spindle back into a small bag or a large pocket.
I'm not sure if it's this way for everyone, but Joseph generally spins standing up. He's six feet tall (1.8 meters), so he has a lot of space between his hands and the ground. I like to spin sitting down and I'm shorter than he is, so I would probably spin while sitting on a tall barstool.
The design of the head and the length of the shaft vary by culture. A Mayan spindle, for example, features a long head that rotates arrive a proportionally short shaft. A Navajo spindle, in contrast, has a much longer shaft and a proportionally smaller head.
Again, more on that to come.
Joseph & Aubrey Bjork