Spindle (textiles)

Spindle (textiles)
Eve spinning, the spindle in her right hand: Hunterian Psalter, ca 1170 (Glasgow University Library)
Spinning with a spindle (below) and distaff (above)

A spindle is a wooden spike (known as the shaft) used for spinning wool, flax, hemp, cotton, and other fibres into thread. It is commonly weighted at either the bottom (sometimes called a drop spindle) middle or top, most commonly by a circular or spherical object called a whorl, and may also have a hook, groove or notch, though spindles without these are also common. Spindle whorls have been found in archaeological digs around the world.

Modern spindles are commonly available in high-whorl, low-whorl, centre whorl, or supported varieties. In a high-whorl spindle, the whorl sits very close to the top of the shaft. A hook is placed on the top of the shaft to secure the developing yarn, and the newly-spun yarn is wound around the shaft underneath the whorl. In a low-whorl spindle, the whorl sits near the bottom of the shaft. The newly spun yarn is wound around the shaft just above the whorl. If there is a hook at the upper end of the shaft, the yarn is spiral-wound up the shaft and caught in the hook; if there is no hook at the top, then the yarn is spiral-wound up the shaft and secured with a half hitch (or more, for slippery fibres) at the top. Some low whorl spindles are notched at the top of the shaft to keep the half hitch secured, although this is not necessary. An alternate method of securing the yarn involves passing it down over the edge of the whorl, around the bottom end of the shaft, and back up over the whorl to be secured with a half hitch at the top of the shaft.

Other forms of spindles include supported spindles, such as the large Navajo spindle and the tiny cotton-spinning tahkli. The spinning wheel is also used for the same purpose.

The spindle in myth and legend

The spindle is closely associated with many goddesses, including the Germanic Holda, Norse Frigg and Freya, Isis, Artemis and Athena. It is often connected with fate, as the Greek Fates and the Norse Norns work with yarns that represent lives. Because the spinning wheel was not in common use before the 16th century in Europe, the older stories are certainly referring to hand spinning done on a spindle. Chief among these is Sleeping Beauty, where the princess is erroneously shown to prick her finger on some part of a spinning wheel in modern illustrations, rather than a spindle.

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spindle — may refer to:In technology*See also: Axle *A spindle is part of an automobile suspension system. It carries the hub for the wheel and attaches to the upper and lower control arms. *A spindle is part of a bicycle pedal. It carries the pedal body,… …   Wikipedia

  • TEXTILES — In the biblical period garments were produced from both animal and vegetable materials. The most common garments were made of animal furs, especially of the less expensive sheepskin and goatskin, though rarer skins were also used. The pelts were… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • TEXTILES —    The evidence for textiles is both indirect, through technological apparatuses for weaving such as spindle whorls and loom weights and through artistic representation of dress, and increasingly direct, through the exceptional survival of the… …   Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans

  • Spinning (textiles) — Spinning is an ancient textile art in which plant, animal or synthetic fibers are twisted together to form yarn (or thread, rope, or cable). For thousands of years, fiber was spun by hand using simple tools, the spindle and distaff. Only in the… …   Wikipedia

  • History of clothing and textiles — Ladies making silk, early 12th century painting by Emperor Huizong of Song (a remake of an 8th century original by artist Zhang Xuan), illustrates silk fabric manufacture in China. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and …   Wikipedia

  • Timeline of clothing and textiles technology — Timeline of clothing and textiles technology.*pre history spindle used to create yarn from fibres. *(unknown) loom. *c. 27000 BC Impressions of textiles and basketry and nets left on little pieces of hard clay.… …   Wikipedia

  • Maya textiles — Maya civiliza …   Wikipedia

  • Distaff — Queen Berthe instructing girls to spin flax on spindles using distaffs, Albert Anker, 1888 …   Wikipedia

  • textile — /teks tuyl, til/, n. 1. any cloth or goods produced by weaving, knitting, or felting. 2. a material, as a fiber or yarn, used in or suitable for weaving: Glass can be used as a textile. adj. 3. woven or capable of being woven: textile fabrics. 4 …   Universalium

  • Spinning wheel — For the computer animation commonly found on the Internet, see Spinning wheel (animation). For the Blood, Sweat Tears song, see Spinning Wheel (song). Irish spinning wheel around 1900 Library of Congress collection A spinning wheel is a device… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”