A Spindle Whorl

This incredible invention has allowed people to turn clumps of wool and fur (even dog fur!) into piles of yarn. Learn how to make your own spindle whorl from an old DVD and a pencil!

KAI: I like to make things and learn about things in my own way. I’m Kai and I’m a hacker.

KAI: Today, what I wanna show you is how to make a cool tool that our ancestors invented to help them stay warm and dry. Spindle whirls are used for spinning wool, dog hair, or even the soft end of cedar bark into yarn for making blankets and clothing. The Coastsalish (SP) people where I live are expert weavers and weave amazing blankets and ceremonial robes. The roll is a disc-shaped object that fits onto a long spindle to help keep it turning. In the old days, discs made from things like wood or antler or even flat stones. On my table here I’ve got some old DVDs that no one wants anymore, small hooks, rubber bands, pencils, and wool, but if you have a big old furry dog that sheds a lot, you could grab a bunch of that fur. You put the DVD onto the pencil like so, wrap a rubber band around each side of the disc. Looks good. So now we just need to screw one of these hooks into the end of the pencil. It works best if you screw it into the eraser. You need the hook to catch and twist the wool and this is how you can turn wool into yarn. So this is a pretty cool invention. It can come in handy if you wanna go back to basics and make your own sweaters and blankets. Stay warm!