Tutorial: How to make a turkish spindle

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)
pocket knife
sand paper
small round file
yarn leftovers
garden shears or small saw
measuring tape

Construction guide

  • 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.

Tagged: how to make a spindle, how to make a turkish spindle, low whorl spindle, selfmade spindle, tutorial turkish spindle

Comments: 5

  1. Kelly Juli 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    What a great tutorial!

  2. crowjyne Juli 21, 2012 at 6:32 am

    This is great! I am looking at this on a phone and thought that the cross sticks were take out chop sticks. I might try that with the center piece black anything from my yard. A mix of urban and natural.

  3. Be||aDonna Juli 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    @Kelly – Thanks for your feedback. :)

    @crowjyne – I wish you a lot of fun with building your own paleo-spindle. Btw. chopsticks are really a nice idea if there are only crooked shafts available.

  4. [...] das Tutorial zum Selbstbau der Spindel jetzt geschrieben (hier ist übrigens die Anleitung für die türkische Spindel auf englisch), weil ich während der Tour de Fleece damit gesponnen hatte und auf das bei Ravelry [...]

  5. [...] für meine Paläo-Spindel (Kreuzspindel) und das Tutorial für die turkish spindle nochmals auf [...]

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