I know how frustrating it can be when you’re starting on a new craft and all the instructions come in a jargon which is complete foreign language to you. So I thought I’d put together a little glossary so that if I ever do speak in a jargon, you have a place to go figure out what it is I’m talking about.
This is a work in progress, so feel free to let me know if you’d like to see anything else included.
Cop: This is the mass of singles/plied yarn which is wound around the shaft (except for Turkish spindles where it’s wound around the arms) to store it while you’re spinning.
Ply (verb): to hold several singles together and spin them in the direction opposite to the one in which they were spun. Plying ‘balances’ the yarn by taking away some of its twist, and creates a stronger, more even yarn.
Shaft: the stick-like part of the spindle, used to flick the spindle in motion and on which the cop is often wound.
Spindle: A tool used to spin fibers into yarn. For a detail of the different types of spindles, see the spindle tales series of posts.
TPI: Twists per inch. This is a count which is sometimes used to calculate the amount of twist in a plied yarn, by laying the yarn flat against a ruler, making sure not to stretch it, and counting the number of twists in every inch of yarn.
Whorl: on a spindle it is a small flywheel placed on the upper (top whorl) or lower (bottom whorl) third of the shaft and helps give both stability and momentum to the spinning movement.
WPI: Wraps Per Inch, this is a count which is sometimes used to calculate the thickness of yarn, by wrapping it around an object (a pencil can do) without stretching it and counting how many wraps of yarns are required to cover one inch of the surface.