Monday, May 02, 2011

Andean/Peruvian Style Reproduction Bottom Whorl Drop Spindles

These new spindles are reproductions of an Andean style spindle. Andean spindles are suspended drop spindles with no hook, no notches and no grooves. They were developed to spin long-staple alpaca and other camelid fibers native to the Andes. Spinning is done off the side using a half hitch.

I have made these spindles in the same affordable and basic fashion as the original Andean spindles with one exception--I mount the spindle whorl blank on the shaft, and then turn and shape the whorl and shaft together to achieve a well balanced spindle. My reading and research on Andean spindles indicate that the whorls are shaped first and then fitted on a hand shaped (sometimes not too straight) shaft. I assume that one benefit of this is that once a shaft is worn out the whorl can be removed and fitted to a new shaft, but I just cannot bring myself to make a spindle that wobbles so these whorls are permanently fixed and balanced.