History Makers: Mary Red Dan Smith and a Spindle

If you follow the link to Cape Breton’s Magazine, you will be able to read the story of Mary Red Dan Smith and a Spindle.

An interesting story of how a piece of wood about 5 inches long, with notches at the base and tapering into a cone to a tiny round ball at the top was used as a small spindle, or dealgan beag (Gaelic meaning for small spindle).

I was able to find one made by @happay on Instagram (as pictured above). 

An interesting spindle, just over 6 inches high and weighing in at 1.7 oz, it seems light, but for a spindle, is quite heavy. 

Initially spinning on the dealgan-style spindle was a bit awkward, though given a good hour or so of practice, it was becoming more of a fascination to me.

The beauty of this spindle is it also acts as a nostepinne.  As the length of single is spun, it is then wrapped onto the body of the spindle in the same manner of wrapping a nostepinne.  The ending result being a center pull ball, that you can then ply your single from.

There is not much information on this type of spindle available on the web.  I am trying to research it deeper to to see if I can discover anything more.  With my trip to Edinburgh just a few weeks away, I am hoping to obtain more information while there. 

Until next time…

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