Spinning with a Support Spindle or Takli
Understanding Your Tool
Before you actually start spinning on your spindle, you should practice spinning without the fiber.
- Set the spindle in a bowl or shell and hold the shaft near the top between your right thumb and first finger.
- Draw your finger back across the thumb making the spindle spin clockwise. As your finger comes back off your thumb, bring the middle finger up to the thumb forming a cradle for the spindle to spin in.
- Practice this action until you can do it naturally and with ease. The spindle should spin for about 10 seconds without stopping.
Now you are ready to spin some nice fine thread!
Ready to Spin!
1.MAKING A LEAD: Hold the cotton in your left hand and the spindle in your right hand.* Catch a few fibers on the spindle hook, pinch them and draw them just slightly out of the fiber mass. Rotate the spindle several turns clockwise. This will start your lead.
2. Hold the spindle upright, pinch the fibers on the hook and draw your fiber mass up a little. Spin the spindle and let the twist run up the lead.
3. Repeat this until you have about two feet of thread. Draft out any slubs and give the spindle a spin to put more twist in your thread. Now slide the end of the thread down the shaft, and wind half of it clockwise around the base of the shaft, just above the whorl. You have made yourself a lead for your spindle.
4.READY TO SPIN: Lay the last foot of thread (lead) up the shaft, lean the spindle slightly to the left. Hold the fiber gently, and the spindle firmly and draft out fibers until it feels real weak,. Now give your spindle a spin, letting the lead wrap around the shaft and putting strength in the drafted fibers.
5. Pinch at the top of the spindle with your right thumb and first finger, holding the thread firmly, draw out more fibers until the thread becomes weak. Then spin again. Do this until you have almost an arm’s length of thread.
Then draft out the slubs by pinching off the twist with your left thumb and first finger so the extra twist will not go up into the loose fiber. Now gently pull on the thread until the slubs come out. Give it a quick spin. Lastly holding the thread taunt, (lift the spindle out of the bowl and the weight of the spindle will keep the thread taunt), give the spindle a good spin and strengthen the thread. Wind onto the spindle leaving about 12 to spiral up the shaft to start again.
Pinch, draft and spin...pinch, draft and spin
At first you will spin the spindle allowing the extra twist to go up the lead to the fiber, then hold the shaft firmly while drawing out more fiber. Eventually you will be able to give the spindle a good spin and draft out at the same time it is spinning. You must use a well prepared sliver so the fibers will slip easily.
*Left-handed spinners must draw back their thumb to get a clockwise spin if holding the spindle in their left hand.