Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ladakhi spindle

Remember the singles that my friend MC was plying a week ago? She brought the finished skein to The Purl District on Saturday. Everyone agreed that her first yarn is a rousing success in a riot of thick and thin colors.

This week I've taken a detour to prepare the roving for a book bag commissioned by one of DD's (Aurora) classmates who loves Aurora's bag which I knit using unspun pencil roving on #17/12.75mm needles. For this bag I'm first putting a slight twist in the roving which is proving to be a whole new discipline. I've never spun a chunky or bulky yarn, my tendency is thin. It was hard not to put too much twist into the yarn. With the weight of the Ladakhi spindle it was touch and go at first. The Ladakhi is based on spindles used in Ladakh, the Himalayas region North of India.

This picture was sent to me from Celtic Jo, taken during a trip to Ladakh several years ago. Her husband snapped the picture while a monk was spinning.
It is similiar to the Turkish spindle but longer and heavier. The spindle is approximately 16" long. The first one Ed made to the specs from the picture was wildly wobbly and couldn't hold a spin for long. But determindly using that clunky one until I was able to spin half decent yarn confirmed my belief that too often spindles are labeled into narrow, specialized catagories. It's truly amazing the skill that people have on what most would consider inferior spindles. I chose the Ladakhi for its capacity for large amounts of yarn. It weighs 3oz but by slowly spinning it and using it as a support spindle on the floor I'm able to spin horizontally 4 -5 feet. At that point I undulate the single to even out the twist through the fibers before winding on. I'm loving this soft, open "yarn".


Jo said...

Love the sunny colour of that roving and the ladakhi spindle looks great too!

cyndy said...

You are making some beautiful, soft and lofty yarn on that Ladakhi spindle! Thank you for explaining about where it came from...and the map is great!