A few days back I finally got around to making up some more drop-spindles. For all that I’m still in mourning for having no wheel, I am trying to move on! I really do enjoy spinning with spindle, as well as wheel (although there is a rhythm that one can fall into more serenely with a wheel, I believe), and no matter what I need to have something to spin on! And since I seem to keep giving away my spindles, it’s high time I made some more!
First off there’s this lightweight spindle, which I’ve come to think on affectionately as “Chinoiserie“. The jade ornament was found in a little shop in Chinatown, the bamboo/lacquer chopsticks likewise (in a 10-pack!). I think the grand total for materials cost was about $3.25.
There’s a bit of trickiness involved in making the two stay together: I used an x-acto knife to carve down the tip of the chopstick so that it would fit into the central hole in the jade, and then crazy-glued them for safe measures (I am contemplating getting better adhesive — epoxy? — for this sort of thing). The hook is an opened-up eye screw, carefully screwed into the bit of the spindle shaft that was whittled (so both end up going through the ornament’s central hole).
In actuality, this is Chinoiserie “mark 2”, the first having been given to Jodi (I think it might be blurrily featured in this photo) who, sometime known for wearing her hair up with chopsticks, was fairly pleased with this spindle’s construction. Stephanie was also fairly intrigued by my first Chinoiserie, mostly that I had gotten the two parts together; she even made me show it to (a very indulgent) Joe! On the first one, the jade had a design that, to me, looks like little sheep faces :)
Next up are two glass bead spindles:
I found the glass beads at Arton Beads, for about $2 each. While they are pretty, sparkley, and have a good whorl shape (round and disk-like), their central holes are rather large. My 1/4″ dowelling was too narrow, so I had to find something else for the spindle shaft.
The solution? Cheap paintbrush handles! With some applied force (aided by pliers) I was able to pull the brush-part off of otherwise nice, pre-varnished, tapered and turned wooden handles, just right for spindle shafts! You just need to sand down the part where the brush had been (in exactly the way I did not for the green spindle because I was too lazy), or make-pointy with a pencil-sharpener (as I actually did for the blue spindle). I am very pleased with these as spindle-shafts, and at about $1.25 per paintbrush I think they’re a great deal. Their slight bulge gives enough diameter that the glass whorl-beads don’t slip off; for each of these I’ve just jammed the bead on tightly from ‘above’, no adhesive. Which way is ‘above’ depends on if you’re wanting a high-whorl or low-whorl spindle!
I don’t have an electric scale yet, so I can’t give accurate weights for any of these spindles, but I’d guess around 1-1.5oz each with Chinoiserie being lighter than the other two. Of the three, I am surprisingly fond of the blue low-whorl one, which spins fast and true. I am most definitely going to be scouring bead stores for future spindle-whorls!
As ever, if you make any spindles or whatnots inspired by my DIY efforts, drop me a line or link — I’d love to see what you’re making!