Today was the first meeting of a brand spankin' new spinning and fiber guild in Western New York. A shocking number of people came to the meeting; I estimate thirty people. An encouraging start. The program was all about spindles. A quick survey revealed that most of the people present had started spinning fiber on a spindle and then moved on to a spinning wheel. The notice for the meeting invited people to bring spindles from their collections and, boy, what a variety of sizes and types were there!
There are a lot of different kinds of spindles in the world. It might be fair to say that nearly every society that spun fiber had their own little *twist* (haha) on spindle design. This is an example of the CD spindle. Friend Erica pointed out that this homemade style really came into its own when everyone and their brother were receiving AOL CDs on a weekly basis. A good number of folks have used these to good effect. Very nice yarn can be achieved with a spindle of this design.
This is a Turkish spindle. An advantage of this design is that when the spinner is finished making the yarn, the two bottom pieces are removed and a center pull ball is all ready to use.
This is a very pretty example of a high whorl spindle. It was made of aromatic Western cedar and has lovely carved ornamentation. Phyllis is the owner of this lovely object.
One of the attendees was kind enough to demonstrate a supported spindle. I hadn't seen one of these used before, so I was quite interested in seeing how the end of the tool goes into a bowl as the fiber is twisted. This spindle can make a very fine thread of cotton or silk.
This was my biggest suprise of the day. It is called a kick spindle. The spinner actually kicks a metal pipe kind of arrangement to make the spindle spin. It reminded me, in a way, of a potter's wheel.
A number of other spindles were demonstrated including akha, Navajo and Peruvian. One lady had even invented her own spindle using an antique porcelain doorknob!
There was also some discussion regarding how weighting a spindle in the center or on the rim makes a difference as does the weight of the spindle and the position of the whorl. What I always like to think about is how the Viking's sails on their ships and the wrappings on Egyptian mummies were all created using this simple tool.