Spin spin spin——Takhli

Spinning the Takhli
Spinning the Takhli

An age-old common sight in the hills of Himachal until some years ago was the sight of the hill folk spinning wool with the takhli or spindle.

You saw the spinners in sun-soaked verandas. You saw them in front of blazing kitchen fires where often the oldest member was spinning away.

You even saw them spinning on roofs, in fields, at the edge of roads or while watching over grazing cattle.

The wooden spindle is about 10 inches long thin and fine like a pencil.The lower end is sharply pointed so that the twisting and twirling is fast and smooth.

A wooden disc is fixed 2 inches above the lower end. it balances and helps in the smooth rotation.

Well-teased wool fibre is held in between the first two fingers of the left hand.

First, long thin wisps of raw wool are softened and made even by the fingers and then placed at the top of the spindle.

The top end is regularly and frequently twirled to the right with the thumb and finger.It is left to rotate within the round space formed by the thumb and middle finger.

As the spindle rotates, the fleece continues to be pulled out with the thumb and fourth finger of the left hand.

An expert spinner spins with such ease and perfection that it appears as if the fleece is released automatically.

Wool spun by a careful spinner is evenly thick and free of unspun clumps. The spun wool is later used to make so many garments in the hills.