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Drop Spinners (Read 4345 times)
english
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Drop Spinners
Nov 13th, 2004 at 4:00pm
 
I was wondering how it is possible to make a large amount of single ply cordage.  I want to be able to spin some string, probably from nettle fibres.  I don't want to use complex equipment, and I have heard drop spinners are the simplest way to go.  I just have no idea how to make them, use them... anyone out there with information?  It would be very useful to know.
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KnollSlinger
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #1 - Nov 13th, 2004 at 8:48pm
 
I think hemp is the best fiber.. got to be a book on it somewhere.. wish I had such books.
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english
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #2 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 3:23am
 
Yeah, it probably is the best fibre.  Problem is that it is not actually a wild growing plant - it has to be farmed (and, for obvious reasons, you need a permit to grow it.)  Dogbane (indian hemp) doesn't grow here, or rather, it hasn't been introduced.  Nettle is quite good - Napoleon's invasion force, bound for England, had uniforms made from nettle.  I'd just love to know how to spin fibre, in the simplest manner, with tools made easily from the wilderness.  It would make cordage production so much quicker and easier.
  I hadn't visited www.primitiveways.com for ages, but I went on it yesterday - there was a new article about making cordage from home-grown flax plants.  It is quite interesting.  But it provides no information on spinning real string or anything for it.
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Douglas_The_Black
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #3 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 8:17am
 
hmm I just use a drill but that is unexceptabul for english i guess you could try making one of thoes old time drills that look like a C only without the bit. attack one end of the soon to be cord to a rock and the other in the drill.

or you could try making a big heavy pice of wood shaped and balanced like a mapel leaf. Attach the cord to the top and let it drop that may work. But i think it might be hard getting the balanceing right.
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #4 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 10:44am
 
I think I may know what you're talking about. I have one that I've used for wool. It's like a tapered dowel attached to a  circlular piece of wood shaped like a shallow bowl with a notch in the side with a hook in the  bottom. That sounds confusing to me and I'm looking at the thing right now. I'll try to get a picture
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english
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #5 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 12:51pm
 
I know what they look like.  I'm just confused as to how to use them properly.  I've found quite a few internet sites, but they have all described using wool, which I guess is different to nettle (?).
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #6 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 1:13pm
 
Well, I have a drop spinner, I got it from a visit to Quarry bank mill a long time ago, for nettle fibre... I divide them into the required amount and twist the fibres together at the join point, then I spin it like wool, adding fibres together if it is too weak.
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english
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #7 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 1:14pm
 
I've been making a drop spinner today, but I am still unsure how to use it correctly.  I know a little bit, but... I guess I'll just give it a go, see what must be done.
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #8 - Nov 14th, 2004 at 3:04pm
 
Hey English,

I'll see if I can't post some pictures a bit later this afternoon - I designed textile equipment for a number of years...

The main difference spinning bast fibres (hemp/linen/etc) Is that they are (if you've done your prep work right) considerably longer than short staple wools. They also aren't as "grabby". Control of the draft area (the triangle that the fibres form between you fingers and the point of twist) is less important than "pre sorting" the fibre on the way in to maintain a constant diameter.

A distaff helps a lot for this type of spinning, and can be as simple as a stick - I'm sure English has lots of suitable contraptions. It is also almost required that you moisten you fingers/fibre as you spin.

If you are just starting out, and not spinning for production (let's face it a sling doesn't need much yarn) it is probably easier to use you spindle as a "support" or thigh spindle rather than fussing with suspending it. Bast fibres don't need that much twist, so you will probably find that it goes faster anyway. Just roll the shaft along your leg to add twist, then wrap the yarn around the end to store it. You don't need a hook if you half hitch the yarn at the tip of the spindle.

Let us know how you make out!

Matthias
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« Last Edit: Nov 14th, 2004 at 5:45pm by Matthias »  
 
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english
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #9 - Nov 15th, 2004 at 2:36pm
 
Nice.  Thanks Matthias.  I knew you'd be the guy to ask.  That's actually very helpful - it has definitely organised my thoughts on the idea of drop spinners.  I'm sure I can find a suitable distaff - but unfortunately I can't get the image Shakespeare uses in Twelfth Night about a distaff out of my head.  Bloody dirty old git.
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #10 - Nov 15th, 2004 at 6:56pm
 
If you  have access to the Traditional Bowyer's Bible Vol II there is also a good sized section about drop spinners in there. I believe they were using flax. They also had some other ideas like the power drill (which has already been mentioned) and a spinning wheel.
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #11 - Nov 16th, 2004 at 10:35am
 
I only have volume 1.  I might get vol 2 sometime.  My birthday is on Friday, but because I live all the way across the pond, delivery takes time, and I neglected to order it from Amazon.  Oh well.  I have got the whole spinner thing pretty well sussed now.  I am still finishing the spinner itself - the flywheel is taking time, because carving wood into circles is actually more difficult than it seems (with a pen-knife, anyway - especially easily split wood like hazel.)  Anyway, thanks - I think, Shaun, you just got another sale for Jim Hamm, Steve Allely, Tim Baker et al.
 I found out today about the properties of Rosebay Willowherb.  I already knew that many parts of it are edible, but I hadn't realised that it makes excellent cordage.  It is easier to use than nettle (but not at all as strong - but then, how strong do you need it to be?), as it has no stinging hairs or anything - and it grows well in Winter, so it can be used whilst everything is dead.  The fibres are also dry anyway, so no need to dry them out like with nettle and others, no need for retting... it's quite good.  I found one plant and got a few strong fibres, about as good as my first nettle fibres.  It seems like I'll use it again.  Only drawback is availability.
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« Last Edit: Nov 18th, 2004 at 10:11am by N/A »  
 
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #12 - Nov 17th, 2004 at 5:49pm
 
well happy b-day at the least
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i live in a maze of typo's&&&& popularity is for dolls a hero cannot be popular-Ralph Waldo Emerson&&&&DTB-master of the corny vest, and crappy carpet!
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Hellfire
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Re: Drop Spinners
Reply #13 - Nov 20th, 2004 at 1:07pm
 
They are called "hand spindles"
They are a flywheel with a string winder attached and a hook at the top to twist the yarn, nettle, hemp whatever......
I personally use swamp milkweed. Very strong.
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