Drop Spindle Spinning

The spindle, one of humankind’s oldest tools, existed in many forms throughout many cultures for tens of thousands of years. Some of the earliest were basically just a stick used to assist in the twisting of fibers drawn out into thread, while also providing a place to store the yarn that had just been formed. Once a sufficient weight of yarn had been stored on the stick, it developed the ability to keep rotating, even when let go. These early spindles evolved into the suspended spindle (also called a drop spindle), which has a weight placed on the stick so it’s easier to keep it spinning from the start.

Despite its simplicity, the spindle is an incredibly productive tool that has been refined for specific purposes through trial and error. One major difference among spindles is where on the shaft the weight (called a whorl) is placed. On a high-whorl (or top-whorl) spindle, the weight is at or near the top of the shaft; on a low-whorl spindle, it is at or near the bottom. — excerpt from High Whorl, Low Whorl by Abby Franquemont, author of Respect the Spindle

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