Whirling Dervishes

Until I went to Istanbuhl last year for a nursing conference, I thought Whirling Dervish was a term used to describe my childhood behavior, as in “Please sit down, you’re jumping around like a whirling dervish!” Imagine my surprise when during my explorations in Istanbuhl, I saw signs advertising a performing group of Whirling Dervish! An online search turned up the explanation of the whirling dervish as one who is practicing a religious mediation.

Whirling Dervishes SpindlesI’ve collected two of my own fibery versions of those meditative whirlers: one  medium and one tiny Threads Thru Time turkish spindles. These are handy little spindles that I’ve taken quite a shine to. How to Wrap Turkish SpindleThey’re sturdy little things, able to hold great big cops without difficulty and being that they’re low whorl drop spindles, if you wind your singles on evenly, they stay nice and stable. I like the fact that there’s no hooks to bend when they invariably hit the floor and it’s so handy how they come apart to release their perfect little center pull ball to ply from. Small Turkish Spindle

Just remove the shaft first, then the skinny arm before easing out the larger arm. The tiny turkish is so cunningly small, I can take it apart and carry it around in a little change purse.

 Using a turkish spindle took some investigation to figure out and a little practice to master. I start by winding a length of twisted fiber a couple of times around the shaft below the arms before I start winding it onto the arms themselves. The basic winding pattern is under one arm, over two arms – which causes the cop to grow upwards until it resembles the shell of a turtle. To secure the singles for spinning after wrapping, bring the last 6 inches or so of singles under one arm and up to the top of the shaft where you’ll attach it with a half hitch. I set mine spinning with a flick of the shaft – sort of like snapping my fingers as I let it go.

Pretty Turkish Spindle Wrap Center Pull BallNext week I’ll show you how to wind on prettily in a God’s Eye pattern. This keeps your cop even for a stable spin and allows you to pack more singles onto your spindle. Not to mention how it will entrance and delight you as you watch it change and grow. It’s almost as hypnotic as the original Turkish Whirling Dervish in action!



  1. says

    Interesting post! I didn’t know that about Whirling Dervishes either. Your spinning on the Turkish spindles looks intriguing. I do a bit of spinning on a wheel, but have never really done any on a spindle. Maybe I should give it a try!

    • Mom says

      Hi Kristie! The spindle spinning really is fun. I think I enjoy it so much because I’m a micro manager type of person with my crafts and the spindle really gives you hands on control on every inch of yarn. So, it’s right up my alley. I still haven’t tried a wheel, but we’re moving back to the U.S. soon and I’m thinking that won’t last long. Ha! I’m really itching to try one.

  2. says

    I love your posts on spinning. I’d read about whirling dervishes before, but never seen it, so your video really helped. It’s interesting how spinning, whether you’re a dervish or a yarn maker is so meditative, despite the rep that the phrase has for Americans.

    Your spindles are so beautiful. I look forward to reading more about how you wind on. I found turkish spindles were much easier to spin with when I was learning hand spindling. I still go back to mine for public spinning sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and lovely photos and video!

  3. Margarita says

    Good to see a couple of Threads thru time spindles— I’ve got four (two tiny, two medium) and just adore them :) They can come in such pretty colors– and your spinning is so even– so lovely :)

    • Mom says

      Thanks so much Margarita. I’ve sure enjoyed the TTT spindles. Do you have any other brands you like? I’m always on the lookout for new spindles to try…

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