Tackling the Turkish Spindle

Have you ever wandered through a wool festival or fiber store and wondered what those plastic baggies with three wooden pieces were? Unassembled, they don’t seem like much. Yet slip them together and you have one remarkably utilitarian spinning tool. Once again, spindle spinning guru Amelia Garripoli explains it all in her new Interweave video Spinning on a Turkish Spindle with Amelia Garripoli.

The spinning action begins before the spindle is even fully assembled. Amelia demonstrates how attenuate your fiber source and spear it with the shaft of the spindle through the X-shaped whorl to anchor the fiber. No leader required! Twirling the horizontal Turkish spindle in her right hand, she drafts back from the bottom then winds on, over two arms and under one, securing the singles with a half hitch at the top of the shaft. With a flick of her fingers, she then proceeds to spin drop-spindle style. How do you know when the whorl is slowing down? You can see the arms again.

Are you right handed or left handed? When spinning on a drop spindle, it doesn’t matter—each hand has a job. Amelia shows you how to maintain the tension of your yarn while winding it on: Avoid a tangled mess by wrapping the suspended strand around your fiber source hand, then wind it on the spindle. Easy and snarl free! Are your fibers difficult to draft,  Amelia reminds us to keep our hands at least a staple’s length apart while drafting. If that doesn’t fix the issue, she reveals how pulling apart the fibers to open them up or shaking them with a couple of quick snaps usually does the trick.

At some point, you’ll run out of fiber. Amelia solves that problem too with her “Victory Join.” She makes the joining process plain and simple by showing the steps clearly and with two colors, so you can really see what is happening.

Victory Join

1.    You’ll need at least a staple’s length of fiber left attached to the spindle. Open the fibers up to make the letter V.
Victory-Join-Turkish-Spindle
2.    Next, take your new fiber source and draft out a small bit. Place the new fiber inside the V of the old and create a Victory Sandwich.
Victory-Sandwich-Turkish Spindle
3.    Spin 2–3 times the staple length for a firm join.
Old-and-new-joined_

Voilà—you are ready to spin on!

These and many more tasty morsels are included in this informative video. Once you’re empowered with these valuable spindle spinning techniques, Turkish spindles are destined to become one of your favorite go-to handspinning tools.

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