Sunday, October 26, 2014

Technology of the Whorl

While thousands, perhaps millions, of spindle whorls are found in archaeology digs, the modern spinster seldom experiences the Technology of the Removable whorl. 


Modern spindle sticks have glued-on whorls.  They are NOT removable, like those found in ancient times.  The modern spindle is very balanced when well turned on a wood lathe as a single, integral object.  Perfect balance and long spin is the Modern Holy Grail. 

But, what if you could change the whorls on the spindle sticks?  The spindle spinning experience when making 'singles' yarn changes significantly with the constantly changing build up of stored yarn on the spindle. The spindle becomes much heavier; spin time slows down.  With a glued-on whorl, the dynamics of weight and spin time cannot be altered.

  • CHANGE OF WEIGHT as spinning progresses 
Swopping out a removable whorl for one of different weight (lighter and lighter as the yarn stored increases from nothing to 1-3 ounces (28 grams - 84 grams or so), ending up at the higher weight with NO whorl in use at all, as the yarn cop itself functions as the whorl.
Top whorl weights generally need more weight for comparable revolutions compared to bottom whorl weights. One spindle shaft can sometimes be used in both configurations, but the whorls need to be different.
What if you  could change the shape of the whorl?  A spherical whorl riding close to the spindle shaft spins fast with a lot of quick twist delivery: Great for skinny yarns with high-twist needs.  A wide disc-shaped whorl twists more slowly, but for a longer time.  Better for heavier yarns or fiber preps that require more manipulation at the transition point from fiber to yarn.
Throughout history, various locations show preferences for different shapes of whorls.  The Curious Spinster wonders Why Why Why.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love the information here! I did not even realize that bottom whorls could use a bit less weight, and I should have remembered that. Is it physics???