Drop spindles are an ancient tool for spinning fiber into yarn or thread. They've been around for a very long time and have changed little since their first invention. The first spindles weighted with whorls appeared as far back as the Neolithic era. A whorl is simply a weight that helps the spindle spin "better" before you have enough yarn on it to give it a little heft.
These days you can buy a variety of types and styles in a range of prices and with a few notable exceptions they all work in essentially the same way.
I learned to spin on bottom whorl spindle but tend to use top whorl spindles now. If you know the difference you'll also likely know what you like. This design can be used either way or can be switched between the two styles if you find you need one or the other.
Spindles can be purchased in stores or online for anywhere from $15 or $20 on up to ...a lot. Especially if you want antique or custom "hand crafted" spindles. On the other end of the spectrum you can make them out of rubbish and free things for literally nothing but time.
This will show you how to make a decent looking functional spindle for a few bucks. About $2.50 in this case.
Step 1: What You Will Need
You will need:
A two ounce block of oven bake polymer clay. I got mine from an art supply store for $1.89. (I chose orange in honor of the spindle being created specifically for an Instructable.)
A chopstick. I used a large bamboo chopstick but you could use any you like. Wood, plastic, bamboo, pretty much anything will work.
A small screw hook. I just had one laying around but you can buy them for pennies or if you sort out how to attach it to the spindle you could make a hook out of a piece of wire.
You will also need:
A working oven to bake the polymer clay. Just follow the directions on the package.
Something to start the hole for the screw eye. A drill bit or an awl should do the trick. If your chopstick is soft enough you won't need anything but most are harder material.
If you're chopstick it too long you'll need a saw or pocket knife to cut it down. Mine was a few inches too long. I used a pocket knife to cut it down. The chopstick started out about 18" long and would have been OK that long but it felt awkward. It would have also made the spindle a little heavier than I wanted.
The whorl should slip fit tight enough to not need anything holding it in place but you might want to grab a rubber band or an "O" ring or something just in case. This is the fourth spindle like this I've made and none have needed anything so far.