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The other day a couple of the village women came over for a master class on the takli. I wasn’t actually their main student, but I learned a lot about spindle physics and got some good pointers about improving my technique. For one thing, I realized that my fancy expensive Tibetan spindle is actually not as good as a plain little 10-rupee takli–the whorl is fairly heavy and wide, which makes it spin more slowly. As primarily a drop spindler, I was enchanted by the Tibetan’s ability to spin for days. But you spin the takli in short bursts, so a long spin is completely irrelevant. Speed, however, is crucial. After watching me for a while, Nirmala and Kusum commented on how thick my yarn was (nobody ever says that!) because of the slow spin. Nirmala also showed me how to flick the spindle right at the tip to get a faster spin, and how to hold the fiber between my first and second fingers, using my thumb and third finger to pull excess fiber out of the drafting triangle. It will take me a while to get the hang of it. When they first arrived I had been spinning some sari silk on my drop spindle. At the end of the lesson, Nirmala asked which was faster–the drop or the takli. I had to admit that they can spin much faster than me…

 

Will I ever be this badass?
Will I ever be this badass?

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