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With the type of spindle called Turkish spindle (kirmen) the whorl is not made of one piece, but of arms. The cop is not wound above (or below) the whorl but is built by wrapping the yarn crosswise around it.

Unlike most other types of spindles, the Turkish spindle is made from independent parts and can be easily disassembled. The whorl consists of two pieces, which slide into each other to form four arms, and the shaft runs through both pieces, stabilizing the whole.
Once the spindle is full the cop can be removed by sliding the whorl and cop up and off the shaft, then pushing the arms out, thinnest one first. When the arms are removed, the cop stands as a stable ball of yarn, meaning that it can be used straight away without having to wind it off the spindle. But there are also other types of spindles to be found in Turkey.

Even linguistically spindle types are distinguished.

İğ : large hand spindle with heavy spindle whorl at the lower end to keep up the momentum [also name of the spindle shaft  – note by the ABT].

Kirman : Hand spindle with cross bars instead of a wooden  flywheel around which the spun wool can be wound. By the Turkmens of Kirikkale called "tengerek" and in Kayseri and Konya "eğirtmeç".

Öreke :  big stick with multi-pronged end, to which the unspun wool is attached. This "fleece-holder" is stuck into the belt so that the arm does not tire during spinning. [= distaff. Word sometimes also used for top-whorl-spindles  – note by the ABT]

(English translations from the German text by the ABT.)

Definitions from: Belkis Balpinar Acar, Kilim – Cicim – Zili – Sumak. Türkische Flachgewebe (Istanbul 1983).
There is also an English version of the book:  Belkis Balpinar Acar, Kilim – Cicim – Zili – Sumak. Turkish Flatweaves (Istanbul 1983).

Other names that appear in the context of Turkish spindles:

Ağırşak : whorl

Çengel : hook

Teşi : Another name for a top-whorl-spindle

Turkey, spindle types 1

Turkey, spindle types 2

urkish spindle types and names for parts of the spindle.


Ottoman wooden distaff. Length: 24.4", c. 1900-1940. (gesehen auf:  GittiGidiyor = türkisches ebay / seen on: GittiGidiyor = Turkish ebay)


Turkey, spindle
This crudely hand-carved Turkish spindle comes, as it is shown here, directly out of the hand of the Turkish woman who worked with it before an employee of the ABT on her visit to Turkey bought it to the great surprise of the elderly lady. On the bottom the date 09.06.2010 is written.
Turkey, spindles
Various Turkish spindles with shaft lengths from 9,25" to 7.67" and arm lengths from 5,1" to 8,2".
Turkey, spindle
This wooden Turkish spindle with bone inlay was probably produced as a decorative object. For use it is much too big and heavy. Length: 14,75"; Arms: 10" Wide, weight of the whorl: 478,60 g (1,05 lbs.), total weight: 525,83 g (1,59 lbs.).
Turkey, spindles
Wooden center-whorl-spindles from Turkey.
This Turkish spindle type is also used for plying yarn. Bottom right: Length 12,8"; Upper left: Lenght 8,46".

Turkey, spindles

Wooden spindles from Turkey with quadrangular whorls. The spindle on the right side is a top-whorl-spindle with an iron hook. Right: Length 9,64"; Left: Length 10,07".

Turkey_spindle 5
Wooden Turkish top whorl spindle with oval, slightly octagonal spindle whorl and iron hook. Length and width of the whorl: 2.55"x 2.04". Length (with hook): 14.68".
Turkey, Kurdish spindles
Wooden spindles from the Kurdish area of eastern Anatolia, Turkey. At the upper end, a circumferential groove was cut into the wood on both spindles (detail above left) to provide a better grip for the yarn loop when used as a drop spindle. In many years of use the spun threads wound around the shaft of the larger spindle have cut into the wood and created a grooved surface structure (detail right).Early 20th century. Length: 11.02" and 13.77": Whorl diameter:  1.92" and 2.32".

Spindle bags

Of course you need something to keep your spindles in, especially if you are a member of nomadic people. That's what so-called spindle bags are for. Probably not every bag that is called a spindle bag today was used to store spindles. On the contrary - the discussion among the collectors of oriental carpets and fabric is sometimes quite intense, and the elongated pockets, which consist of a decorative front and back surfaces of mostly plain weave, are thought of as possible quivers, sometimes as protective covers for the ends of tent struts during migrations. Anyway – at least this Turkish woman thought that her spindles are stowed away safely:

Turkey, Yomut - spindle bag
Yomut Spindeltasche mit dekorativem Wollflor, die Rückseite ist aus Baumwollstoff  in Leinwandbindung, ca. 1910, Größe: 22 x 50 cm. Die Yomut oder Yomud sind eine der Hauptstämme in Turkmenistan, Zentralasien.
Turkey, spindle bag

Woman spinning with a top-whorl-spindle. Behind her a spindle bag with four spindles (two with circular and two with square whorls) hangs on a wooden pillar. Ören, Akçadağ district, province of Malatya, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey.

From: Belkis Acar, Kilim ve düz dokuma yaygilar. Akbank kültür ve sanat (Istanbul 1975).

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