Spindle Whorl - Small Collections

Spindle whorls made from Clay and Stone, found in Mali and Guinea Conakry
Originally used as weights for traditional cotton spinning. Somewhat fragile but very interesting.
Examples have been found that were in use before 1,000 BC. The remains of the individual original patterns are still visible on many of these beads despite their previous long term usage.
Ideal for Museum and Lecture presentations of original African tools and artefacts.
For those of you who are interested in their present day use in spinning, we are pleased to reprint the interesting information below, supplied to us by our customer and friend Evelyn,
who was actively involved in maintaining these beautiful Whorls for their intended use.

An 8 ins / 20 cm strand of large beads
in a variety of intricately hand-carved but worn patterns ... Solid, heavy and beautiful examples, both now and then, of one of the largest beads ever made in Africa.
Largest bead 20 x 30 mm
ATB 169a   26   Sold

A 14 ins / 36 cm strand of early beads
some with unique, intricately hand-carved patterns ... some worn with age from their many years of use in the Desert sands
Largest bead 30 x 37 mm
ATB 169-03   36   Sold

Their Practical Use by Evelyn Simak and Eirwen

A spindle whorl is the disc-shaped object at the end of a wooden or metal shaft,
placed there for the sole purpose of balancing and steadying the motion of an ancient  tool commonly known as a Spindle.

Spindles have been used by countless busy hands, since time immemorial,
to create yarns which we still admire today in the colourful garments
worn by so many peoples all over the globe.

Spindle whorls can be found in a wide variety of shapes, weights and materials.

They are individually crafted, at times beautifully decorated with old tribal patterns
and often kept as heirlooms over many generations.

Depending on local resources and craftsmanship, they are made from wood, metal,
clay, stone and parts of fruits or sea shells.

Just like the many-faceted beads, which they so closely resemble in their timeless beauty, spindle whorls bear witness to almost forgotten cultures and their traditions
and should be treasured accordingly.


One of our good customer / friends Eirwen is happily spinning in Wales and experimenting using our Whorls .. she has recently sent me some photographs of one of the Whorls in action, saying: I think it looks just beautiful and hope that I can do its maker and all the people who used it in the past justice, by eventually producing lovely yarn...as I'm sure they did...although it was probably cotton and not wool.
HERE to see the pictures.

An additional informative article on whether they are classed as beads - can be found on
The Beadsite.com

For more information on spindles and spinning please contact:

         www.wsd.org.uk   Assoc. of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers,  UK

         www.spinn.de                                                                             Germany
For a superb YouTube Video demonstration .. click