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African bead-whorl support spindle

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This little spindle is intended to be used as a support spindle with the lower tip of the shaft resting in a small bowl in your lap (or on a table if you prefer). They are intended mainly for cotton, but with a little practice you should manage any fibre that you want to spin fine.

The bead is a traditional whorl made in Mali, Africa, and as they have made them in the same style for hundreds of years, I'm unsure of its age. The shaft was hand-shaped from hardwood by my husband, then sanded down and polished smooth, so it won't catch on your fibres.

As these could be old whorls, a few may have small chips; where these occur they will be clearly shown in the close-up photographs, so please have a good look before you decide to buy. I test twirl all the whorls, and only choose the ones with the best balance for spindles!

The weight is given below, mainly because people expect to see a weight on hand spindles. With a supported spindle the heavier they are the longer and faster they will spin, but the weight doesn't really affect your thread, the fineness and amount of twist is entirely up to you!

The spindle pictured here weighs 15g, the shaft is 21cm long by 3mm and the whorl measures 25mm diameter and 23mm high.

If you would like to see one in action please visit the YouTube site using the following url.


African bead-whorl support spindle


  • Materials: black fired clay whorl, ramin shaft
  • Ships worldwide from United Kingdom
  • Feedback: 1230 reviews
  • Favorited by: 1 person