Monday, March 22, 2010

The Art of Collecting Spindles

If you hit the Ravelry Spindlers Forum, Flickr Groups (such as SpindleShots), or whatnought, you'll notice that there are a LOT of spindle collectors out there.

It's much easier to collect spindles than it is to collect wheels (not to say that there aren't people who collect wheels!), but spindles take up considerably "less" space than several wheels. (Of course, if you have 100+ spindles, it might take up plenty of room!)

Of course, this is not a new phenomena. In Ancient Greece, spindles of gold & ivory were presented as gifts to women, and many have been found in the tombs of both men & women alike as burial items across various cultures. But, whether or not someone had dozens or even hundreds of spindles (if you weren't a professional spinner) is probably up for debate. I suspect that most ancient spinners might have had a small collection for utilitarian purposes, but not to the extent some spindlers have today!

Butterfly Girl Spindle & Japanese Maple roving
Resin Spindle


Spindle whorls have been created out of beads, shells, wood, ceramics, stones, bone, precious metals, semi-precious stones, and clay. Many are decorated with intricate carvings or ornate designs. And this doesn't include the modern day interpretations, such as resins, glass, and wood spindles with gold rims, etc! (I sometimes wonder what future archeologists & anthropologists will say when they uncover these tools and how they will compare it to *our* ancient forebearers.)

ZebIsis Design Spindl
Jasper Whorl Spindle


It seems to me that humans have been trying to spruce up their utilitarian tools to make them more pleasing to the eye when using them. I know I find an immense pleasure in just seeing my pretty spindles whorl in such a plethora of wide colors & patterns.

Butterfly Girl Murano Drop Spindle
Murano Glass Spindle


Insofar as myself, my collection isn't *that* big. I might have 7 spindles total, of varying materials and weights. But this doesn't mean I won't be acquiring more spindles in the near future.......

(And for now, I'm sticking with *one* wheel!)