It might be because I don’t have a spinning wheel, but for me, the humble spindle is one of the greatest tools ever invented. I love its portability, but also the fact that no matter how elaborate the spindle, the principle at its core is simple and has on the whole remained the same over thousands of years. It is basically a stick, which spins so as to twist the fibers together and create yarn, and on which the spun yarn is stored.
There are two main families of spindles, and within these families, many different types. The two main families are the drop spindles, also sometimes called suspended spindles, because they spin hanging off the end of the yarn being spun, and the supported spindles which spin resting on a surface, without putting any weight on the yarn, making it easier to spin short staple fibers and thinner yarns.
As soon as I picked up my first spindle I became fascinated by the way it worked. And as soon as I realised there were other types of spindles (I started with a top whorl drop spindle) I wanted to try each of them. I have since tried a few, and plan to try as many as I will encounter. So I decided to make a series of posts looking more closely at each type of spindle and their characteristics as I try and tame them.
First off will be the top whorl drop spindle since that’s the one I started with, and I still think it’s the easiest type on which to start spinning, but there again, I’m aware that’s a personal preference.
What about you? Which type of spindle did you start with, and which one is your favourite today?