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.
I’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. They’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.
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.
Next 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!