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. 😉

Tutorial: How to make a turkish spindle

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.

Selbstgebaute Kreuzspindel / Tutorial

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.

Tutorial: How to make a turkish spindle / Bauanleitung fĂŒr eine Kreuzspindel

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.

Selbstgebaute Kreuzspindel


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

Comments: 12

  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 ĂŒbrigens die Anleitung fĂŒr die tĂŒrkische Spindel auf englisch), weil ich wĂ€hrend der Tour de Fleece damit gesponnen hatte und auf das bei Ravelry […]

  5. […] fĂŒr meine PalĂ€o-Spindel (Kreuzspindel) und das Tutorial fĂŒr die turkish spindle nochmals auf […]

  6. JwanJwen MĂ€rz 2, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I make one with chopsticks that is similar to yours.
    It can spin, But I cannot spin correctly and the string cannot wire itself like your.
    How to spin a Turkish drop spin ?
    Even after watch tutorial video on you tube, I still cannot.

  7. Be||aDonna MĂ€rz 2, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Hi JwanJwen – Maybe there is a misunderstanding? The yarn doesn’t wind itself on the spindle. You spin your wool – really similar to a normal spindle and you must wind the cop by yourself. Search for „winding on a tirkish spindle“ on youtube. If you are still in doubt, feel free to send me a mail with photos. Greetings from Berlin. 🙂

  8. Laurel Paulson-Pierce Oktober 12, 2018 at 8:48 am

    The beauty of a turkish type spindle is that it can be easily dis-assembled while the yarn ball stays intact, eliminating the need to re-wind your ball. Does this spindle have the ability to remove the shaft or the arms by simply sliding them off? (it seems the notches that hold them in would prevent them from being taken apart in this way.)

  9. Be||aDonna Oktober 21, 2018 at 10:48 am

    @Laurel – Uhm, yes…? I really know what makes a turkish spindle special. Loose the bindings after you are finished with spinning. After this you shoul be able to extract the twigs with some careful twisting and rocking.

  10. Robin Mitchell Dezember 22, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    How funny. I recently taught two beginning spinning classes. We started out making what one student called ‚MacGyver Turkish spindles‘. We used a dowel, some skinny popsicle sticks and hair ties.

  11. Be||aDonna Dezember 22, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Ha ha! That’s a good name for this. I always say to my pupils that you can spin with everything, even a potatoe. To macgyver something together is in germany (for real fans of the series) also in use. 🙂

  12. Danielle August 27, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing, I will try this!! And I will try to share pictures with you

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