Friday, February 25, 2011

Winding On: Leaderless Center-Pull Balls on a Simple Spindle (Not Turkish)

When I was first reading about spindle spinning and the different types of spindles, something that caught my eye was the Turkish Spindle. One of the advantages of a Turkish Spindle is that the whorl makes an interlocking cross onto which you wind your cop (the newly formed yarn), and after you spin your fiber, you take the whorl off of the spindle and out of the cop, leaving your new yarn in a center-pull ball.

This concept fascinated me, and I started wondering how I was going to make my inexpensive spindles Turkish-style.

What I ended up doing was adding what I call a Turkish Twist to the simple spindles I made. I took a very small, almost toothpick sized wooden stick, and as I started to wind my cop around the spindle-shaft, I wrapped the stick cross-wise against the shaft of the spindle. This made the spindle-shaft and the little stick work just as well as the whorl of a Turkish spindle for making a center-pull ball of yarn; the big difference is that I still needed my whorl to create weight for spinning, and that whorl needed to be removable, so that I could get the center-pull ball off of the spindle when I was ready.

Turns out, I didn't really need the little stick to do this! I got so caught up in the fact that there was this cross in order to make the center-pull ball, that it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me that the reason a Turkish Spindle is like that is to make the cop part of the whorl. But I already have a whorl; I just need the center-pull ball. And with a little planning, winding a center-pull ball on a stick (or the shaft of my spindle) is simple!

Here's How I Do It:

1. You need a spindle (any simple spindle with a shaft and a whorl will do, but either the whorl or the hook must be removable so you can get your center-pull ball off when you're done spinning), and a poof (some fiber to spin).

2. I've never used a leader. It just always seemed simpler to me to draw some of the fiber out to about half the amount of the desired single,

3. Fold the drawn fiber around the hook of the spindle (maybe the hook is why I've never used a leader???),

4. Secure the folded fiber with your thumb (my right thumb),

5. Take the two sides of the folded fiber into your thumb and forefinger (my left),

6. And add some twist to this little bit of fiber by spinning the spindle.

7. Spin a length of yarn as if you'd already started spinning and winding on.

8. Wind that yarn around your hand, removing the end of the yarn from the hook, but careful to maintain the twist in the yarn.

9. Here's where the photos might be a little odd; to photograph this section well enough, I had to switch the direction that I usually wind-on in, but the concept is the same. Place the end of the newly spun yarn against the shaft of the spindle.

10. Secure it with your thumb (not pictured, I use my right thumb), while you begin to wrap the yarn around itself to keep it in place. This picture is the beginning result of the yarn being wrapped over its end to keep it in place.

11. Wrap it a few more times...

12. Push this wrapped end of the yarn against the whorl of your spindle.

13. Spiral the yarn up the spindle a few times, allowing room for your center-pull ball to grow. Then spiral the yarn a few times so that each revolution of yarn is touching the yarn from the previous revolution; this creates the base for the center-pull ball.

14. Now wrap the yarn around the section of spiral that is tightly wound, up and over and back around down and under. This is the basic concept of winding the center-pull ball. When you remove the whorl or the hook of the spindle, you slide the ball off, and the end that is wrapped to the spindle shaft becomes the "pull" end of the center-pull ball.

15-17. Watch your center-pull ball grow as you spin your fiber!

Have fun!

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