All my spindles are fully handmade with a hand bent and hammered hook, varnish finish, a guide notch on the whorl, signed, numbered, and labeled with the weight and date made. Spindles through number 197 have the weight marked in increments of 1/4 oz. Spindles number 198 and up have more precise weight marked. All are designed, crafted, and finished by myself as unique functional art. No mechanical or computerized duplicating machines are used in the making of these spindles. I personally test spin them all. I will only sell a spindle if I find it enjoyable to use. I will reject materials at any stage of the process to make a heirloom quality spindle.
How to choose a spindle? The weight is very important and the shaft plays a major role in spinning comfort. Heavier spindles are better suited for spinning and plying thick yarn. Lace weight yarn needs a light spindle which would not be suited for spinning thicker. Thick yarn can support a heavier spindle without breaking. My Trunk size averages two ounces and up which is good for bulky to chunky yarn, though some of the lighter ones spin worsted weight well. The shaft on the Trunk size is 3/8″ diameter and usually at least 10″ long. This gives you room for a large cop of spun yarn and your hand. Branch size with an average weight of 3/4 an ounce to 1 1/2 ounces spins DK to Worsted thickness yarn well. The Branch shafts are 1/4″ diameter and lengths from 8″ to 12″, shorter good for spinning seated while longer provides more shaft to grab. Twig size at 1/2 oz and under is best for lace and other thin yarn. Twigs have 1/4″ by ~7″ shafts well suited to the smaller cop of thin yarn. In general the lighter the spindle the finer a single it will easily spin. However even on the heaviest spindle listed a moderately thin single is possible, such that a two ply would become DK to worsted weight yarn. The other direction is not as flexible, trying to spin a chunky style thick yarn on a spindle lighter than an ounce is asking for frustration. Within all the sizes the different shapes of the whorl affects spin duration and speed. I try to note the properties of each spindle. If you are uncertain which spindle will be best for your project just ask. New spinners see my Intro to Drop Spindle tutorial.
All the wood I buy is as sustainably sourced and local as possible. Then I try to find good uses for the parts of boards not suited to spindle use. All the shavings mulch my garden.
I always glue the whorl to the shaft to prevent it becoming loose from seasonal wood movement. I finish with a semi gloss polyurethane varnish so no oiling or waxing is necessary. If you spin in the grease you can use a dish soap dampened cloth followed by a water damp soap removal wipe, just don’t submerge in water or leave wet. *Ebony and some other exotic whorls get a different finish, wet those at your own risk.
If you drop the spindle on the hook or it gets bent watch the spin first to see if a correction is necessary. The spindle should hang with the shaft centered under the leader. When a wobble is apparent during normal spinning you will need to straighten the hook. To do so: hold the end of the shaft pinched in your fingers and gently nudge the hook with your thumb towards center. Soft small corrections are best. Each adjustment should be followed by a test spin to see if the wobble is removed. I show how in the video below.
Please if your spindle is damaged or giving you trouble I want to know. firstname.lastname@example.org