Support for Tibetan Spindle Spinning

Yearning to try something new? Are your fingers itching to finger-twirl a fresh spindle for fall? Maybe take a spin with a different tool for Spinzilla? Regular Spin Off contributor Amelia Garripoli is passionate about supported spindle spinning, particularly the Tibetan supported spindle.

Tibetan supported spindles are bottom-weighted spindles, usually supported in a bowl while you twirl the shaft with your fingers. Yak and other short animal fibers are traditionally used on these Asian spindles.

Amelia Garripoli spinning on a Tibetan supported spindle.

Amelia Garripoli spinning on a Tibetan supported spindle.

A tip from Amelia: If you’re a beginner with supported spindles, try spinning cotton, because most people find it harder to spin than animal fibers.

When beginning to spin on any new spindle, Amelia suggests getting used to the feel by giving it a flick and twirling it between your fingers without fiber. It will only get harder once you add your fiber supply.

Amelia shows how to start spinning on all supported spindles in basically the same way: poke the tip through a tangle of fiber, then poke the tip through it again. Next, give it a little finger-twirl to add twist and get things going, then hold the attachment point with your fingers as you draft a bit until you can feel the poked tangle attach on the shaft of the spindle.

To get rid of thick spots, Amelia advises double drafting. First, draft the fiber out a little further so the twist is spread out and the single is soft. Next, give a gentle tug between one hand at the attachment point on the spindle shaft and the other at the point where the twist enters the fiber supply. Do not pull too much, or your singles will pull apart.

With a bit of practice, you will have a new technique to increase your handspinning expertise. Grab a spindle, some fiber, and twirl away!

Happy Spinning!

(Featured Image shows Amelia Garripoli demonstrating double drafting on a Tibetan supported spindle.)

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