|Spindle Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & fabric Industry
A spindle (sometimes called a drop spindle) is a wooden spike weighted at one end with a wheel and an optional hook at the other end. It is used for spinning wool and other fibers into thread. Spindles or parts of them have been found in very, very old archaelogical sites; they may represent one of the earliest pieces of technology available to humankind.
Modern spindles are typically available in high-whorl or low-whorl types. In a high-whorl spindle, the whorl sits very close to the top of the shaft, which is anywhere from 15-45cm long. A hook is placed on the top of the shaft to secure the developing yarn, and the newly-spun yarn is wound around the shaft underneath the whorl. In a low-whorl spindle, the whorl sits near the bottom of the shaft. The newly spun yarn is wound around the shaft just above the whorl, and then passed over the whorl, hitched around the tip of the shaft, brought back up to the top of the shaft, and hitched there again to stabilize it for further spinning.
Other forms of spindles include supported spindles, such as the large Navajo spindle and the tiny cotton-spinning tahkli. The spinning wheel is also used for the same purpose.
Referred to in the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty; the princess (leading lady) pricks her finger on such a spindle and falls asleep before a handsome prince finds and kisses her. A spindle was such a universal object (as a pair of scissors would be now), that the king's ban upon all spindles in the kingdom was immediately recognized as a useless precaution.