An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Wednesday, July 15

A 16th Century Raeren Spindle Whorl

July 15, 2009 Posted by Vaire

Drop spinning has interested me for a long while. I have acquired a few spindles over the years and practised different styles of drop spinning, mostly modern. I've also tried to spin in medieval style, but have been having trouble with the spindle.

The spindles I have are too heavy. A potter in Estonia once made me three medieval style spindle whorls, but two of them are too heavy to use at all and the third is borderline too heavy. I've been stubborn and trying to use it anyway, but it hasn't been working well. The spindle whorls I've seen in the museums are much smaller than the ones I have and I've suspected that mine were too large for long. Now it is certain.

A few weeks ago there was a reference to a 16th Century Raeren spindle whorl on an antiquities site on Ravelry. I bought it. It was simply irresistible. I've been wanting a good whorl for years now. Isn't it beautiful?

Raeren Whorl, top

This is the top.

Raeren Whorl, bottom

The bottom of the whorl.

It is interesting how the whorl is not a perfect sphere, but slightly flatter at the top. It is tiny compared to the others, and especially the modern whorls. The hole is conical, not a straight cylinder. This fits with the shape of the extant shafts that have a slight bulge.

I have not tried it yet because I didn't bring my medieval spindles with me when I moved. I will do so as soon as I fetch them.