Ok, you have your cop built up, you need to get your yarn off your spindle so you can make more yarn and eventually (probably) ply. (Note: some information talked about here refers to a beginning drop spindle kit available at Fiber Fate Etsy shop.)
1) Wind off into a ball. A ball, not a cake. The loose nature of a cake lets out valuable twist, I don’t recommend this method. It is best to have a core for your ball to get it nice and tight, again, so you don’t let any of the twist out. Some sort of mini ball. I’ve seen a penny used. I’ve heard people use mini tennis balls. I like to use a small amount of other yarn (like a cotton scrap) that has already been started into a ball. Ply from your balls. You can drop them into or under yarn bowls, measuring cups with a spout, a box with a hole, any place that will hold your balls in a small area that can take the tugging while plying. You can also just let them roll freely on the floor it that’s your style.
2) Slide your cop off onto a stainless steel or hard plastic straw or a knitting needle size 11 or 13. For this spindle, you want a straw that is 8mm or 9mm (.31 or .35) thick. A regular straw will be smaller than the cop center. You will be dealing with some lost twist toward the end. In addition, there will be side-to-side slippage of your cop because of the looseness. You can make a lazy kate out of a cardboard box and ply with that. You can find different ideas about homemade lazy kates online.
3) Wind off onto a regular bobbin, use a regular lazy kate – the kind you would use with a spinning wheel. There are a lot of styles and price ranges for this type of kate and bobbins. If you go this route always make sure your bobbins (the hole diameter) will fit on the kate you get. They do vary by maker.
4) Ply straight from the spindle. You have to have several spindles for this method. Make your own lazy kate or there is a small assortment of spindle lazy kates out there – generally pricey, but if you see yourself spindle spinning a lot in the future, it may be worth the investment.
If you are going to leave your yarn as a singles, skip to the Skein Your Yarn section.
Grab your spindle (with the yarn leader attached) and your fiber.
Tighten the leader and draw it up, wrap it around your hook. This time, you will be flicking your spindle counter clockwise. Hold the ends of your singles together, put them through the loop of your leader. Start adding twist to secure the ends. Counter clockwise! Keep spinning and don’t forget to check your balance now and then.
Skein Your Yarn
Wind off onto a niddy noddy, or get creative, make up a 1 to 2 yard length of something to wind your yarn around – chair backs, a small table turned on it’s side, cardboard box… Before you remove your yarn from your niddy noddy, secure each end with 2 half hitches to itself and 2-4 small pieces of yarn or crochet thread tied equal lengths apart around your hank. This will keep it organized when you go to set (wash) it.
Fill a sink or small dish pan or large bowl with lukewarm water and a touch of wool wash or a very very gentle soap.
a note here: I really like Eucalan wool wash. It’s gentle and does not require a rinse. Don’t use dish detergent or regular laundry detergent these are overkill and will be difficult to rinse out.
Place your yarn in the water, gently press to cover, let sit 15 to 20 minutes. Resist the urge to move the yarn around. Soaking is a great way to get things clean without agitation. If you must, gently press down with both hands to move the yarn evenly and let water gently swoosh through it. Did I mention “gently”? Wool will felt, do not agitate it, do not push and swoosh to much. Different wools will fuzz and felt at different rates so be mindful.
a note here: for some singles, you might want to full (felt) your yarn just a tad. This will help hold it together and give it strength. For this method, use warmer water and a bowl of cooler water. After the initial soak, switch between cold and warm water a couple times and give it a few swooshes. This will shock the wool, it will start sticking together.
Squeeze the water out of your yarn, set aside, refill your bowl with lukewarm water, let your yarn rinse soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Grab a large towel. Roll your hank, let sit 5 minutes, unroll hang or lay flat to dry.