About the drop spindle: like most pieces of remarkably simple technology, it turns out that the drop spindle is more sophisticated than it looks. Yes, it's just a round lump of wood on a shaft with a hook on the end, but the proportions, the balance and weight distribution of that round lump of wood and the shape of the hook all affect the way it spins, and so affect the joy of spinning with it. It turns out this drop spindle I've been happily using is hand-turned by a skilled craftsman. There are various patterns for home-made drop spindles and I've been exploring the possibilities, but I don't expect to achieve the beautiful balance of this one.
The red and white lamp-work bead in the pic is part of my exploration of home-made drop spindle possibilities. I wondered whether I could add a shaft and hook to it and hey presto. Well, maybe, maybe not. Certainly it is round and nicely balanced, but the weight is all at the centre and I don't know how long it would keep spinning for me. So it might just have to go to a piece of jewelry after all.