About two years ago I saw a snapshot of a DIY turkish spindle on Ravelry. It inspired me to build something that I like to call paleo spindle for myself. Of course I have no proof that something like that was actually used in the Paleolithic but I would imagine that it is quiet possible considering that it’s build from stuff readily available in nature and does need nothing more than stone age tools. A proper archeologist might curse me for my amateur guesswork. But who knows? Neither wool nor a wooden spindle would have survived 40,000 years in the ground.
Living in a big city with few twigs lying around and not wanting to desecrate the local public parks I used cherry twigs left over from our easter bouquet that I left to dry out on our terrace.
If you make a turkish spindle after this tutorial I would be really happy to hear about it/see photos. (Damned curiosity. )
I wrote this tutorial because I spun with my selfmade turkish spindle during the Tour de Fleece and got a lot of questions about how I made this beautiful spindle via private messages. For a tutorial in german language look here.
Spinning with the paleo spindle
Cherry wood is maybe not the best choice because its relatively light weight. So spinning is a bit annoying at the start but gets better when the turkish spindle gains weight from the spun yarn. If you build one yourself you might use wood a bit heavier.
By now I really love it and I admit I’m also a bit proud of it. I like the way it works and I can spin a nice thin and even yarn with it.
Material (use the measurements as rough guide only):
seasoned wood (1 shaft: 28cm long, 7mm diameter
4 twigs for the whorl arms: 18cm long, 5.5-6mm diameter)
small round file
garden shears or small saw
- Measure the twigs and cut them to length with the garden shears or saw.
- Remove the bark and even out the twigs with the knife.
- Smooth out the twigs with the sand paper especially at the ends.
- Use the round file to make 2 little notches into the opposite sides of the shaft about 3cm from the lower end. Do the same at 3.5cm from the lower and but shifted by 90°. Those notches help keep the arms of the whorl in place.
- 2-3cm from the upper end of the shaft you make a deeper notch with the knife and even it out with the file. This notch keeps the loop of yarn safely in place while you spin.
- Take a pair of whorl arms and tie them together at one end, put the shaft in between and then also tie them together at the other end. Do the same with the second pair of whorl arms. Adjust both pairs to sit crosswise in the little notches at the lower end of the shaft.
- Done and ready to spin.