Extremely rare and sought after captive ring spindles from Paucartambo — no longer made! These are plying size, called Kanti or Canti in Quechua, and are made from aliso wood, an Andean tree that grows at moderate to high altitudes.
These weigh in right about 35 grams, with a few ranging down closer to 30 or up closer to 40 — let us know in your purchase notes if you want one that ranges lighter or heavier and we’ll try to accommodate that while supplies last. They’re all approximately 32-34 cm long with a great holding capacity for yarn while you ply.
We’re doing our best to make it viable for the one person we’ve found who can make these spindles to start making them again, and for him to train others. The whorls are turned by hand on foot-powered lathes, with captive rings that are made from the same block of wood as the rest of the whorl, turned at the same time. I’m told this is easy to do with some specialty tools and modern equipment, and that’s what people would use in the wealthy world, but it’s not how it’s ever been done here and that equipment isn’t readily available, or necessarily viable here.
But what might surprise you is that the spindle makers we know all agree that the hard part is actually the shaft, which must be shaved by hand and meticulously formed, and it can neither be too rough nor too smooth, or else it doesn’t function well as a spindle. And that’s the thing: although these are beautiful and unique, first and foremost they’re tools, made to the needs and desires of Indigenous Peruvian master spinners.
What we hope is that if we can sell off this batch that was in storage in the USA, we may be able to generate enough cash to go help our friend find an apprentice who can do the parts he’s not physically up to, and to perform maintenance on his antique equipment and tools in order to make these and bring them to market, both affordably for the local spinners who covet them as always, and at a fair international market price that lets you buy the real thing instead of copies from the wealthy world.
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