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The Crafter’s Box Review – Making Yarn with ‘Drop Spindle’

Sanna Chu
BySanna ChuApr 14, 2021 | 18 comments

The Crafter's Box
4 overall rating
1 Ratings | 0 Reviews

The Crafter’s Box is a monthly maker subscription box:

As a member of The Crafter’s Box, we’ll send a lovingly kitted box of tools and materials to your doorstep on a monthly basis. Each month we feature a new expert maker and that maker has built for us a unique, grown-up, on-trend project that reflects their artistic style. In addition to the monthly box, our featured maker has created an educational, digital workshop to teach their crafting medium and to offer their tips and tricks.

The best part of this model is the ability to revisit workshops in the future to create again and again. Happy making!

This review is of the Crafter’s Box subscription at $65.00 for a month-to-month subscription with free shipping.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About The Crafter’s Box

The Subscription Box: The Crafter’s Box 

The Cost: $65.00 per month + free U.S. shipping (save with longer subscriptions)

The Products: A shipped kit of curated tools and materials + a new digital workshop by the featured maker of the month

Ships to: The U.S. for free and internationally for varying rates

Good to Know: The month’s featured project is announced on the 1st and subscribers have until the 8th to pause, skip, or swap that month. Projects are designed to be for ages 18+.

The Crafter’s Box ‘Drop Spindle’ Review

The Crafter’s Box is an artisan craft subscription box that features a different, unique craft each month that is designed with the crafty adult in mind. The boxes are thoughtfully curated with high-end materials so that your finished products are modern and luxe. There’s also an accompanying video workshop led by the featured artist that introduces you to the craft and provides you with detailed instructions to complete the project.

Let’s take a look inside March’s box — the craft this month is making yarn with a wooden drop spindle!

 

We received two info cards this month detailing information on what’s included in the box, as well as a short bio on the featured maker this month, Lauren McElroy of Mother of Purl. For this workshop, Lauren walks us through the fundamentals of drop spinning to create our very own yarn.

Now, onto the items!

 

 

Wooden Drop Spindles – Retail Value $20.00 (Buy one Drop Spindle for $10.00 here)

These top whorl drop spindles are made from solid beechwood and they’re our main tool for this workshop. They’re used for spinning a single ply of yarn and would be a chic option for storing your spun yarn too.

 

Corriedale Top Wool .75lb in Natural Light – Retail Value $30.00

We received 12 ounces of this neutral-colored wool with a combed top, which means that the wool fibers have been combed in one direction making it easier for us to pull apart.

Cotton Leader Yarn in White, 1 Yard

This length of cotton is required to start off our yarn spinning. We attach it to the shaft of the drop spindle and loop it around the hook.

 

Wooden Dowels

These two wooden dowels are threaded through the cardboard bobbins and placed inside the shipping box that we’re repurposing for this project. This is the setup for plying our yarn.

 

Cardboard Spools

Once you’ve spun a single ply of yarn on your drop spindle, you’ll wind it onto one of these cardboard bobbins. You’ll want to wind an equal amount of yarn onto both bobbins before plying your yarn.

In addition to the tools and materials in this kit, our workshop also includes a digital workshop valued at $25.00 (this is the video access only price) and a live Q&A with the featured maker.

Now, let’s get to spinning…

…or not. I wish I was the kind of person who could spin their own yarn, but it turns out that it’s not something I could pick up straight away. Or after a few attempts. The first step is easy enough, you attach the cotton leader yarn onto the drop spindle, tie a knot at the end of the yarn to make a loop, and twist the yarn around the hook.

Next, you thread a small piece of wool fiber through the looped yarn then spin the spindle clockwise with one hand and draft your yarn with your other hand. As you spin, the twist in the leader yarn is supposed to travel up to the fiber, but this is where I ran into difficulties. My twist was not traveling up smoothly like in the tutorial. The fiber was twisting near the top where I was holding it instead of at the base where the fiber met the yarn. Lauren’s instructions were to hold near the top, but I could only get it to sort of work if I held the fiber closer to the yarn. I was able to add another piece of fiber to the first piece but as soon as I let go to pull apart more fiber, everything would unravel.

Then I thought, let me prep some pieces so I can keep adding to the yarn without having to let go and have it all unravel. With my wool fibers separated and pre-drafted, I felt ready to give it another shot. But again after several repeated attempts I still couldn’t get the hang of it.

Maybe if you get over the first hump of hand spinning and get to the drop spinning part, things might go better, but I really couldn’t figure out how I’d be able to get it to work. The drafting part, where you’re supposed to control the thickness of the yarn, was really difficult for me and I couldn’t get the tension right and the yarn kept twisting up too much. So, while I am currently unable to spin any yarn, maybe I can get some more detailed instructions on how to get started with the upcoming live Q&A with the maker that’s included in this subscription. If nothing else, I now own two wooden drop spindles and I can keep practicing until I get it right.

 

Verdict: While the workshops from The Crafter’s Box are always challenging, they’re usually more fun-challenging than frustrating-challenging. This is the first time I’ve been unable to make a start on a project right away. The idea of spinning your own yarn is interesting — who even knew that was a thing that you could do? — but unfortunately, it required a lot more hand dexterity than I currently have. However, learning and practicing new skills is very important for brain function, so I appreciate that The Crafter’s Box always delivers new and exciting crafts every month.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, but you can sometimes purchase past workshops as a single box for $75.00 in the Crafter’s Box marketplace. You can see which workshop you’ll receive before you sign up.

Value Breakdown: I didn’t calculate a value for the dowels and bobbins, but the spindles and wool had a retail value of $50.00 and if you add in the digital workshop price of $25.00, then that’s $75.00. So, you’re saving at least $10.00 by subscribing.

Check out our other reviews of The Crafter’s Box and the top-rated craft subscription boxes!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What did you think of The Crafter’s Box “Drop Spindle”? Did you have better luck than me at yarn spinning? Let us know in the comments!

"The Crafter's Box is a membership community for those that love to make. Monthly we send a curated box of specialized tools & carefully sourced materials (everything needed) to build a beautiful, grownup craft project and to master a new artistic technique. Our projects are hosted by an expert arti... read more.
Sanna Chu
Sanna Chu
Sanna has been obsessed with subscription boxes since signing up for Birchbox in 2010. She loves fashion, beauty, food, and lifestyle boxes for the curated experience, deals, and convenience. When she’s not trying to sign up for yet another subscription, she enjoys hosting dinner parties with friends, discovering new bands, and reading in the park.

Sanna Chu
Sanna Chu
Sanna has been obsessed with subscription boxes since signing up for Birchbox in 2010. She loves fashion, beauty, food, and lifestyle boxes for the curated experience, deals, and convenience. When she’s not trying to sign up for yet another subscription, she enjoys hosting dinner parties with friends, discovering new bands, and reading in the park.
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18 comments

Charlotte

Question for those of you that sub to this box: I signed up for the paper-making workshop this month, and see now on my account profile that they charge on the 8th of the month for “the following month’s box.” Does this mean that I will be charged a second time before the end of April for May’s box, and then again on May 8th for June’s box? Or will I not be charged until May 8th? I’m not fussed either way, but I’d like to know for sure so I can set those funds aside.

Sanna Chu

Hi Charlotte, you shouldn’t be charged until May 8th! May’s box will be announced on the 1st of the month and then you have until the 7th to decide after whether to skip, pause or swap.

Charlotte

Thanks so much – I’m looking forward to seeing what they pick for May!

MrsLittle

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your less than stellar results! It gets a little discouraging when everyone posts their perfect crafts!

Sanna Chu

Aw, thanks for your comment. As they say, practice makes perfect!

Nicolassa

Handspinner here! You’re doing great! Spinning is really tricky to get the hang of, and so I totally understand your frustration.

I think the trouble here is that the drop spindle looks pretty lightweight for the thickness of yarn you’re spinning. Beginning spinners usually spin pretty thick/thin, lumpy bumpy yarn, since they’re just learning. If a spindle is lighter in weight, it can be difficult to keep it spinning, because it doesn’t have enough heft to keep going when the yarn itself is heavier. I suspect that you might be having trouble with the spindle not revolving much and then quickly going in the opposite direction of the original spin?

You were definitely on the right track in terms of solving the issue! Strip the fiber down to the approximate thickness you want the yarn to be, and don’t worry so much about drafting at first. Think of twist as glue…the twist is what keeps the fibers together. You don’t need a loop of fiber to join it to the lead yarn; you just have to hold both ends together. The twist will join them!

Give the spindle a spin, and the twist should travel up and join the initial fiber to the lead yarn. Then let the twist continue to travel up to the fiber without worrying about drafting (since you’re a beginner), and join another piece of fiber to the first one. The twist will hold them together. Note, though, that the twist will travel to the thinner areas of the stripped/pre-drafted fiber and kind of kink up there. This is normal!

It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of spinning, but with practice you can produce handspun that is just a dream to work with. Additionally, a lot of spinners find spinning to be a wonderful, meditative, Zen-like practice. It’s definitely been my stress relief during the pandemic, although I chiefly spin on a spinning wheel, rather than a drop spindle. There are a lot of educational and instructional resources on YouTube, Craftsy, and Ravelry, should you want to continue with spinning as a hobby. And there is probably a Handweavers Guild in your area that might be able to provide you with instruction or guidance, if you learn better in person.

JoJoB

Wow! Thank you for this. This information had to have taken a lot of time and effort on your part to learn and I truly appreciate you sharing it. Very kind of you (and helpful!) 🙂

Sanna Chu

Wow, thanks for all this incredible information. Spinning does seem like it would be a really meditative practice once you get a hang of it. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

Nicolassa

Oh, my pleasure! I love talking about spinning…it’s been my go-to hobby since 2006. 🙂 I had been wondering when one of the crafting boxes was going to slide a drop spindle in there, haha. It can definitely be tricky at first! Hope that some of my explanation is helpful. Y’all, let me know if you have any other questions! Happy to help however I can!

Dawn

Oh no!! I got this box and watched the video which made it look so easy, but I’ve put this off until I had a less hectic weekend to work on this. Your experience is not giving me much hope that I’ll get it to work either, although, like you said, I have been really encouraged by being able to do things I never would have tried because their instructions and tools are so good. Who’d have ever thought I’d be buying extra bags of cement and bigger silicone molds to make planters? Certainly not me, but that’s where I’ve ended up.

I will give it a try this weekend in your honor and see if I have the same results. If I do, this review will have made me feel a lot better about that outcome. Thanks for sharing such an honest summary of your efforts. (Although I confess that I was hoping you’d have not only spun the yarn but also have knitted a scarf and you’d tell us what size needles we’re supposed to use!)

I really did enjoy the artisan discussing the origins of the word “spinster” and how this was one of the original trades that an unmarried woman could do in order to earn her own money. Made me extra determined to figure out how I could be one, too, but we’ll have to see if I can figure out!

Sanna Chu

Yay, so glad it worked out for you! I will have to give it another go now that I know it’s possible.

Sanna Chu

Good luck, Dawn! I’m sure you’ll have better results than me 🙂

Dawn

I just posted above, to Beth, that I did get it to work, although I think I ran into every single one of the problems you encountered! Honestly, all credit to your post because I figured the worst that could happen was it just wouldn’t work so I sort of powered through all those issues, more or less ignoring them, and I started to see how it was coming together despite being more twisted in the thinner parts and less in the thicker, and not really being able to draft very well, and ending up with some spots where the twist got into part of the wool but didn’t really “take” on the overlapped, added wool. Thanks again for a really helpful review that was so encouraging to me, even if it reported a “failure!” Hope you consider giving it another try!

Beth

Dawn, can you come back and post your result? I’d love to know if you got it to work or not. i skipped this box but then was reconsidering my decision until I read this review. thanks.

Dawn

I’m happy to say that I did try it this weekend and it worked! My results were not as beautiful as the experienced crafter who teaches in the video. My single is lumpy and uneven, with visibly thicker parts and visibly thinner parts, and I think some of it is probably overspun, because even wound around the spindle there are parts where it’s a little kinked. And I haven’t finished the project, which requires spinning all of the top roving into two singles and then twisting them together. But I suspect my results are probably about par for the course when you start learning a skill like this, so I’m pretty pleased with my results and I’m planning to continue working on it as time permits until I’ve actually got a ball of yarn from it.

For whatever it’s worth, I found that I was the most comfortable doing it in an armchair where I could really easily “park” the drop spindle between my knees fairly constantly. I didn’t feel comfortable enough to stand up (yet) and I felt like it was helpful to not have to change my posture much between when the spindle was spinning and when I parked it to add more roving.

BG

Glad to hear how much you like making the planters. I want the ceramic planter workshop so much but the one time it showed to swap it was sold out and I can’t bring myself to pay the shipping….will need to wait until the cement and all the other things are in stock to get it up to free shipping.

Stephanie

I adore this box!

Janelle

Kudos for your attempts! I, personally, switched my sub to their watercolor and goache workshop because I’m not well versed enough in yarn arts to have anything to do with the finished product. I have found that these workshops give you enough to get started with and sometimes just enough rope, or in this case yarn.. I like to search for youtube tutorials on some of the crafts so I can get some other ideas on the techniques involved.

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.