By Amelia © November 22, 2009
There have been several mentions on spindlitis lately of a particular variety of spindle -- a supported spindle that's supported by continuous twisting in the hand. They sound similar to me to what I've read about lap spindles in A Handspindle Treasury which are described there for spinning Icelandic yarn.
But these references are coming up about French spindles (I'm told that quenouille is actually French for distaff ... "spindle" in French is usually fuseau, on blogs I've looked at like this one), Portuguese, and traditional Serbian spindles, with accompanying YouTube videos, and they involve twirling the spindle continuously in the hand, rather than on the leg.
First, the French spindle, demonstrated by sergeantMajorette, who spins on a wide variety of support spindles and happily shares her knowledge and experience with those who ask:
I've seen this type of spindle offered on Etsy (and have one), antiques rather than new manufacture. So I wonder if they are still actively in use there. However, there's a modern Portuguese lady in this video spinning on one, with an assortment on the stool next to her:
Now, hers all look like they may be historical as well, very simple hand-carved spindles, not the polished turned woodwork that is common in modern American-made and Canadian-made spindles.
And finally, showing the global nature of spinning, a group of Serbian spinners re-enact traditional spinning (the spindle spinning starts at 2:40):
Though the traditional Icelandic lap spindles are described as being rolled on the leg, I can't help but wonder how similar in speed, and perhaps style, they might be to these support spindles. Both are uniquely different from the other sorts of support spindles, perhaps most closely similar to the Akha, which is also supported with the body rather than a dish like the Navajo, Takli, Russian, or Tibetan spindles.
I'd welcome any insights readers have on these spindles, as when there is a support spindling follow-on to Productive Spindling, I'd like to include information on these as well. I see some fun spinning explorations of these new-to-me support spindles in my future.
I have in the past pointed people to Connie Delaney's Spindle Spinning: From Novice to Expert as a good discussion of support spindles, covering Navajo spindles and Taklis as well as top and bottom whorl spindles. I'm happy to now also be able to point people to Abby Franquemont's newly released Respect the Spindle, which overviews not only those support spindles, but also Akha and Russian spindles, with wonderful photographs accompanying the overviews.
For an A-to-Z glossary of spindle spinning terms, see the ispindle glossary. ispindle is a great online resource with many helpful tutorials available.
© 22 November 2009 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/