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