Turkish Spindle – Spindles Around the World Series #4

By Molly Ferriter – Be the first to comment
I’m very excited this week, as we come to the Turkish spindle, the fourth post in our series “Spindles Around the World“. So far we’ve discussed the drop spindle and the Navajo spindle.

The Turkish drop spindle is incredible, in that the yarn is wound around the whorl, creating a ball of yarn that slides off the shaft and is ready to use! Amazing!

Photo by Snyder Spindles

Photo by Snyder Spindles

The Turkish spindle is a drop spindle, made of a whorl and shaft, and can be either top- or bottom-whorl, as the whorl can be moved wherever you want to place it on the shaft. What is unique about the Turkish spindle is its design. The whorl is comprised of two wooden pieces that form a cross, or X shape, when slid onto the shaft. The two wooden pieces slide into each other to form four arms (X shape). The shaft runs through the two pieces.

Because the shaft runs through the whorl, the whorl can be removed with the yarn still wound around it. Then the whorl pieces slide out of the yarn ball and… voila’! … you have a ball of yarn! Many spinners crochet or knit right from this ball, without plying, which sounds so much better to me than spending hours plying yarn. As a relatively new spinner, the word “plying” sends shivers up and down my spine- and not in a good way.

The Woolery carries a wide variety of Turkish spindles.

The Woolery carries a wide variety of Turkish spindles.

Knit Picks' Turkish Spindle

Knit Picks’ Turkish Spindle

The shaft varies among different Turkish spindles, some longer than others. The Turkish spindle also varies in size, from just a few inches to much longer and wider.

I have spent many, many hours trying to find information on the origin of the Turkish spindle and the geographic areas that it is historically prevalent. However, I haven’t been able to substantiate any exact information. Frustrating! We do know it is used throughout Anatolian Peninsula (Turkey), and parts of the Middle East. The Turkish people originated from the plains of Central Asia, so I presumed that there were some similarities in the spindles from Central Asia, but haven’t found it to be true so far.

photo courtesy Flikr Creative Commons

photo courtesy Flikr Creative Commons

As far as availability, the Turkish spindle is available at many fiber and yarn shops, both online and in-store. While the price varies, the Turkish spindle can be very affordable. Knit picks is currently selling a basic Turkish spindle for $14.95. However, the prices go up from there!

I have been ogling the Turkish spindle “eye candy” at The Woolery, which carries a wide variety of Turkish spindles in exotic woods like Snakewood, Canary wood, Zebra wood and more. It also carries a wide range of sizes of Turkish spindles, with the whorls ranging from 2.5 inches to 7.5 inches, and the prices ranging from $34.00 to $60.00. Delicious! Before you buy, check out Etsy for individual, artisan-made spindles.

Do you have any experience with the Turkish spindle? Do you own one? Or, do you know anything about the origins of the Turkish spindle? Let us know below. I’m dying to find out more!

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