Table of Contents


Brief History of Spinning

Handspinning - Why?

Wool and Other Fibres for Handspinners

Preparing Wool for Handspinning

Thoughts on Learning to Spin

Basic Rules for Spinning with a Flyer Wheel

Spinning Wheels

How Flyer Wheels Work

Choosing a Spinning Wheel

Buying a Spinning Wheel

Indian Book or Box Charkha


Introduction to Handspindles

Spindle Reviews

Tips and Tricks for Spindle Spinning

Building Your Own


Lazy Kate

Knitting Needles





Links - Handspinning on the Web



Life on the Farm


Address and legal information

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There are different types of handspindles. You can categorize them by whether their weight

Drop Spindles

A drop spindle's weight is supported by the spun thread. Therefore you need a light-weight spindle for fine thread and a heavy spindle for thick thread or plying.

Drop spindles can have the whorl

Which one you use is a question of personal preference.

Top-Whorl Spindles

can be made to spin by rolling them with your flat hand along your thigh. This means less stress on your fingers and greater speed. I prefer to spin with top-whorl spindles - I feel they are more efficient.

You can also easily spin with the "park and draft" method. This means you

  1. Twist the spindle (no, you don't do anything with your fibre supply right now!)
  2. Catch the spindle and put it between your thigh so it can't turn any more. Twist is now stored in the spun thread between your fibre supply and the spindle.
  3. Draft your fibres and let the stored twist run into them.

However, as top-whorl spindles rotate so fast, they need to be very carefully balanced - otherwise they begin to wobble alarmingly. A top-whorl spindle is therefore not a good first project if you want to make your own spindle.

Bottom-Whorl Spindles

You generally twist them with your fingertips, like a top. This is efficient enough when the spindle shaft is very thin. When the shaft is thicker than a few millimeters, however, you can't impart a lot of energy with your fingertips. The spindle will therefore spin slower and not as long as a top-whorl spindle.

I see only one advantage: A bottom-whorl spindle is more forgiving of construction mistakes.

Supported Spindles

Sorry, I have practically no experience with them. I only own one takli. Therefore I recommend to do an internet search with terms like "supported spindle", "Navajo spindle", "takli", or "Akha spindle".

Page updated: 07 April 2007