Friday, October 1, 2010


Jenkins Kuchulu spindle - with a quarter for scale

I love hanging out with other fibre people. You don't have to explain that being warped is A Good Thing. In fact, they are as likely to be enablers as anything else.

Many people are unaware that I got sucked into the weaving world through the orifice of a spinning wheel. (For more of that story check out very early posts - I won't repeat here.)

So even though I seldom did any spinning after I got bit - hard - by the weaving bug, I always had a drop spindle for demos. Face it, an AVL production loom isn't exactly the easiest thing to drag to a demo! :^)

But eventually - largely because I wasn't very careful with it - the tip of my spindle broke and I was forced to cobble a fix together that worked, but wasn't very elegant. When I became an Ashford dealer late last year, one of the things I bought for inventory was a drop spindle. Two, in fact. An 'ordinary' spindle, and a Turkish spindle.

Syne Mitchell had blogged about her Turkish spindling, and I thought it would be fun to try it. But somehow I was reluctant to break open the package - because once I did that I wouldn't want to sell it - it would be 'used' after all. (Or trained, depending on your perspective?)

Anyway, while at the Puyallup Fair, one of the gals in the demo area was alternating between spinning on her wheel and a sweet little Jenkins Turkish spindle. Ooooo - want one!

Why? I don't know. I have no idea what I would do with a bunch of tiny little balls of singles handspun - truly! But.........want one!!!

I even went so far as to buy some pencil roving - a blend of wool and mohair - when I have bins of roving already (because I am, after all, a dealer for Ashford fibres, too!)

And then we went to visit with Syne Mitchell for a couple of days, so I asked her to clarify how to wind onto a Turkish spindle in order to make a centre pull ball. And she showed me the tiniest Turkish spindle I'd ever seen in person. Just 12 grams - that's less than half an ounce - and no, it's not a toy! She showed me how to start a leader yarn with the roving itself and how to wind on. And we sat and spindled for 15 or 20 minutes. And then she gave me the spindle! She very kindly packed it in a lidded container, cushioning it with yet more fibre for spinning.

And so tonight instead of working, I've been watching tv and spindling. The spindle is nearly 'full' already, but being a weaver rather than a knitter (ya, I know, I knit too, but my mindset is from a weavers' perspective) I'm loathe to stop until I can wind a few more yards on because I really don't know what I'm going to do with the yarn.

And I'm loving it. The tiny elegance of it, the fact that it makes fabulously thin - but strong - yarn. I may take the teeny tiny balls to the spinning wheel and navaho ply it. Or not. Frankly, even though the spindle is most certainly not a toy but a very functional spindle, I'm playing. And it's a lot more productive than all those hours I've been spending on Facebook playing Bejewelled Blitz! Even though I don't know what I'm going to do with the yarn. Yet.

Currently reading Labyrinth by Kat Richardson


mtayti said...

Ooh! Covet covet covet... The only Turkish I've ever owned was cobbled together from a retired arrow shaft and a couple pieces of pine slat. Too light and wide to be quick, even after some limb-lopping.

I usually plied yarns from the Turkish back onto it - using both ends of the convenient flat ball. (did you tie your leader to one of the arms?)

Who makes it? Where should I direct everyone when Christmas rolls around???

Syne Mitchell said...

Woot! I'm so glad you're enjoying the Kuchulu! It wanted to go home with you.

Mtayti: The maker is Jenkins Woodworking. Beautiful spindles made by truly nice folk.

Laura said...

Thanks for the link - I intended to look it up and then had a brain cramp. :}

Margaret, I'll bring it on Tuesday. :)

SpinningDownUnder said...

Mmmm, welcome to the obsession! I have a Jenkins Turkish spindle in purpleheart, and its beautiful, lovely to look at, to hold, and to work with!
One use for those little doughnuts of yarn is to place them in a basket and admire them, then pat them, and marvel how perfect they are! They will tell you when they are ready to be used, and what they want to be. In the meantime, enjoy!

Valerie said...

Yep...I can attest to the addictive nature of the Jenkins' turkish spindles.

Sometimes play in another area of our craft is just what is needed to get the creative juices going. And who knows....perhaps some of those spindles spun threads may become an accent warp or weft along with some commercial yarns.


DebbieB said...

I adore my little Kuchulu - it's like a little pet. When I demo with it, people are amazed that such a teensy thing can make yarn!

Sharon Schulze said...

If you get enough of those little "doughnuts" couldn't you warp them for a scarf with all different colors going across? It would be one of a kind in such an amazing way. :-)

I've just spent ten days with my father who is healing from hand surgery. I've been weaving and crocheting and hemming woven potholders and it's the perfect activity since I can put it down easily. Daddy is currently designing a little charkha stand for me (that he will build) and then I will be spinning, too. So seeing an adorable little spindle when I'm in such a lovely fiber-y place... mmmmmmm