After reading Syne’s post about her Yarn Turtles, I thought it was the perfect solution to my “what spinning should I take with me on vacation?” question.  The Turkish spindle breaks down in nice neat package.  There are no delicate hooks that can get bent out of shape.

I took a look at all my Turkish spindles.  Yes, all.  I found that I have about 8 here (there may still be 1 or 2 hiding in a bag somewhere).  I know I have at least 1 or 2 more up at the cottage.  I took them all out.  Gave them a nice rub with beeswax polish, and set out to weight them.  My spindles range from 20 – 80 grams.  Most of them are in the 55-65 range, but there are a couple of really heavy/dense exotic wood spindles.  I picked the single featherweight spindle (20g) for my singles, and the lightest of my large spindles (40g) for plying.

So I set out to audition fibers to take on the trip. I tried an Abby batt. Nope. It didn’t tickle my fancy with this spindle. I found a little 1 oz. braid of Falkland wool that came in an order from bee mice elf.  Yum. This is a lovely fiber to spin on the Turkish spindle.  Not too slippery, nice crimp, and very soft for a medium wool.

I separated the roving into 2 equal sections for a 2-ply yarn.  I started spinning the first bump and looked down at the spindle. Hmm. It doesn’t look anything like a yarn turtle.


This is the way I was taught to wind a Turkish spindle: over and under alternate arms.  When enough builds up, skip 2 arms and repeat.

I looked at Syne’s turtles and reviewed Amelia’s directions and saw that they wind in a much different way than I’ve been taught.  So, I thought I’d give it a try.


Hmm. Perhaps I’m just not used to it, but I think it looks funky.  It took a while for me to get into the groove of winding it this way.  I’m not too happy with this method because I think that the spindle gets a wee bit unbalanced while winding on.  The old method of over/under builds the yarn evenly around the shaft.  This method builds the yarn parallel to the shaft.  There’s a moment in time each time you switch that the fiber is evenly distributed, but the next wind-on changes the balance again.

And the wind-on feels awkward.  It did feel better toward the end, but still not great.  It may just be the awkwardness one experiences when learning something new.


Here are the 2 nests side by side.  The old method on the left, and the new on the right.  The new one doesn’t look anything like a nest nor a turtle.  It looks more like a giant Chiclets.

And the biggest downside I found is that I can’t find the center!  The old method keeps the shaft area clear, so I can track the starting thread.  When I slide the shaft out, I can pull the start out a bit so I can use it.  The new method completely covers the starting thread.  I couldn’t find it, even when I followed Syne’s method for finding the beginning.

Instead of plying from the same end of the spun singles, I’m plying one from the center and one from the outside.  Darn.

Anyway, after going through all of this auditioning, I’ve decided not to take any spinning with me.  Sanity returned.  There are 2 reasons for this:

1. I really need to finish the Deb Menz Patchwork Throw/Blanket. So, I’ve packed that, along with all the millions of little balls of yarn.

2. I took some fiber and a spindle with me once to the British Virgin Islands.  The heat and humidity did not make it a pleasant experience.  I don’t think I ever finished spinning that beautiful wool/silk blend.  It was also a sailing vacation where we spent 10 days on a sailboat.  That may have had something to do with it.

So, the spindles stay home.

Sorry if this post is a little disjointed. I’m trying to stay awake all night so that I will fall asleep as soon as I get on the plane in 11 hours and counting. Hopefully, I’ll fake my body into the new time zone and have minimal to no jet lag at the other end.