What exactly is drop spinning? A spindle is a simple tool consisting of a shaft, a weight (called a whorl) and a hook that is usually made from wood. It is used for twisting and compressing fibers into yarn such as wool, flax, hemp, and cotton. The natural fibers are very short and pre-spun are commonly referred to as a staple. There are three steps to spinning yarn: drafting, twisting, and winding. The process of drawing out the short fibers and twisting them together, or spinning, produces strong yarn as the individual fibers create friction and wind together in a helix. The harder you pull lengthwise, the harder the staples will press against each other transversely.
Once you get the feel for it, spinning becomes like a second nature. The meditative and rhythmic process is a wonderful stress reliever. Another benefit of using a drop spindle is not only the ease of use, but they are also incredibly simple to store and transport. In fact, most spinners would multitask spinning with other household chores or socializing in the early days. Our own creative team members have been known to spin on an airplane while traveling! The possibilities are endless when you start experimenting with dyeing and ply strengths, weaving and knitting…the only question we have is what will you create with your yarn?
More About Our Artist: Lauren McElroy
Lauren is a multidisciplinary fiber artist specializing in knitwear design and spinning yarn. In 2016, she started Mother of Purl. What began as a commissioned knitting brand, quickly evolved and transitioned to knitwear design. Once Lauren realized just how much yarn she was using in her designs, she became inspired to learn the process of spinning her own yarn. It was important to her to fully understand and learn the whole process straight from sheep’s fleece to a finished garment. In her own practice, Lauren processes local sheep wool from scratch which you can read all about her experience here!
“Being someone with an intersection of many identities it is important that my artwork is for the liberation of all oppressed people and the uplifting of my ancestors.”
Each time Lauren starts the process from scratch — hand skirting, washing, picking, carding, combing, dyeing, spinning fibers into yarn, and making beautiful masterpieces of wearable art; she does so to honor her ancestors and herself when she’s able to offer her art to the world. Lauren incorporates sustainable practices into her art such as sourcing local fiber and natural dye materials in her designs. Her style is inspired by traditional crafts and contemporary styles. Lauren's aim is to use her art to effect positive social and environmental change.
You can find Lauren in the beautiful rolling hills of rural Wisconsin designing, knitting, dyeing, and spinning daily, as well as teaching classes. She is deeply moved by the natural beauty and the pure aliveness that she is surrounded by. In addition to her love for the fiber arts, she also enjoys gardening and singing (often at the same time).