Because we live in an agricultural county, all of us have seen sheep in fields, watched them get sheared, and touched unwashed wool. We pulled out clean, carded roving and rolled it around in our hands to see what happens when it's twisted. The drop spindle is just a tool to help with that twist, and it can be made very simply with a toy wheel, a short length of wooden dowel to fit inside the wheel, and a brass cup hook:
You put it together like this:
And screw the cup hook into the top. This is a top whorl spindle, and it spins a little faster than the bottom whorl type.
That makes for a tighter, thinner yarn.
It also makes it a little easier to get the hang of spinning, I think.
After the spindle is assembled, you need a leader to attach the wool to. We used a loop of cotton string slipped around the shaft and hooked under the cup hook.
K showed us that an easy way to start spinning was to roll the spindle along one's thigh.
Or you can stand up and set it twirling with your thumb and forefinger.
I'm not really a spinner but I often think that someday when my life settles down, I might become one. It's very soothing and somewhat hypnotic to watch wool pull and twist into yarn. It also made for a fun first day of our yarn circle.