Spinning · Uncategorized

Spindles

As an assignment for the Level 2 Master Spinners program, we need to photograph 10 different hand spindles, identify them by their name and/or type and what part of the world they are from.  My good friend R. R. brought his collection for us to use and I promised my  classmates the pictures and captions.

There basically two types of spindles; top whorl and bottom whorl.  Then those categories are broken down into supported and unsupported.  Generally top whorls are unsupported while bottoms whorls can be either unsupported or supported.

The ones here are all bottom whorl, the majority are supported spindles.

Bottom whorls:

Turkish Spindles
Turkish Spindles

The really cool thing about Turkish spindles is that the bottom arms come off and leave you with a center pull ball.

Basic bottom whorl spindles for unsupported spinning
Basic bottom whorl spindles for unsupported spinning

Bottom Whorls – Supported Spindles

Southwest Native American (Left to right) Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo
Southwest Native American
(Left to right)
Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo

Many people believe that the only native spinning in the Southwest United States is done by the Navajo.  However, the Pueblo people  were spinning cotton before the Spanish arrived.

Pueblo spindle with clay whorl
Pueblo spindle with clay whorl

The Ahka Spindle is from a small tribe in Thailand.  There is a very interesting post at spindling.com  about them.

Ahka Spindle (Thailand)
Ahka Spindle
(Thailand)
Russian Spindles
Russian Spindles
Tibetan Spindle
Tibetan Spindle
Lagos Nigerian Spindle
Lagos Nigerian Spindle
Iraqi Spindle and other clay whorls
Iraqi Spindle and other clay whorls
Latin American Spindles
Latin American Spindles
Antique lap spindles from Florence, Italy
Antique lap spindles from Florence, Italy
Takli For spinning cotton
Takli
For spinning cotton
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5 thoughts on “Spindles

  1. Hello, your classifications on the Pueblo spindles are absolutely correct and I applaud you! I actually made these spindles and am a friend of R.R. The only inaccuracy I saw in the picture that can be misleading is that the Hopi spindle is upside down and the cop is supposed to be wound on the short end of the spindle. If you notice, the short end of the Hopi spindle has a tapered point as opposed to the longer end, which is actually the bottom of the spindle. Also, thank you for pointing out that us Pueblo people have been spinning and weaving cotton long before the Navajo arrived to the Southwestern United States shortly before the Spanish arrived with sheep. It’s also important to point out that Navajo weavers work exclusively with wool which did not arrive to the southwest until the 16th century. In contrast, Pueblo people were spinning and weaving native yucca fiber, turkey feathers, and rabbit fur long before even the introduction of cotton to the Southwest via indigenous trade (pre-contact). After about 900 AD, cotton was omnipresent in the Southwest and continues to be the main fiber used for Puebloan ceremonial clothing.

    1. Louie, Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I love all of the history involved in spinning and really think people need to understand that There has always been a strong spinning tradition here.

  2. Just a point of clarification, cotton was introduced to the Southwest via indigenous traders known as Pochtekah from Mexico in the first century AD. Early Spanish documents prove that almost all Pueblo villages, notably Hopi, had very large cotton crops stretching “several leagues.” This cotton was adapted to dry farming techniques in the Pueblo Southwest, a strain still cultivated with some of the Pueblos. This strain is commonly referred to as Hopi short staple or Gossypium hopi.

  3. The Puebloan spindle with the clay whorl is a pre-historic spindle used among the Pueblos. It was used to spin fine cotton yarn for weaving. This type of spindle is no longer in use among the Pueblos but is something that I made to show my students all of the different types of spindles used by the Pueblo people both before and after european contact.

  4. The distinction between Hopi and Pueblo may also be a little confusing because the Hopi are also Puebloan people. The distinction I usually make is Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblo or New Mexico Pueblos as the Hopi are in Arizona.

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