Dealgans Scottish Spindle
Dealgans are a whorl-less Spindle which has one of its’ origins in Scotland. The Scottish Spindle has 3 Gaelic names: Dealgan, Farsadh, Fearsaid. I’ll be calling it the former, because, as a Dragon, I’m terrible with my “essses’sss” 😊
The Dealgans were used in Scotland from the 1700’s until the early 1900’s until the spinning wheel came up from the lowlands. Some sources suggest it was as far back as the late medieval period of the 14th and 15th century. Given the Scottish history with the English Lords and Kings suppressing their culture and with the Dealgans made only of timber during historical digs of recent times sometimes only little pieces were found. It is therefore hard to know for sure when the Dealgan first came into use in Scotland.
The most likely original shape and size the Dealgan had was with a square lower end with cross cuts on the bottom. It was also quite heavy, so was used for plying or medium weighted single yarn.
The Dealgan Scottish Spindle has made a small revival thanks to the fascinating research made by Lois Swales and you can find her work here: https://missingspindle.blogspot.com.au/ and of course a few other Spindle makers have produced these unique fibre tools since.
Being part Scot, I felt it was a fibre tool that I should have in my repertoire 😊
I have made 2 styles of Dealgan: 1 for the more traditionalists out there who would like them to look as close as possible to the original, so when you are in medieval re-enacting and such, those are the way to go; and then 2. after Charly and I investigated and tested, and tested, we felt with a little groove towards the bottom stopped the single yarn from slipping off. My research lead me to believe that the original was quite heavy as I said before, but of course with new modern lathes we can made them more user friendly and lighter, so that you can spin finer yarn than would’ve surely been taken up by our Scottish cousins back in the day! The second more modern take on the Dealgan looks like a thistle still in the bud so I thought that was apt as well.
If you are unsure of how to use them there are several you tube videos around that you can use as a resource: The basic principle is that you create a centre pull ball by winding on in a nostepinne style. You then pull your yarn into one of the cross notches on the bottom of the Dealgan, then up the to the tip where a half hitch is created and your yarn will sit close to the small tip. You can then start twirling your Dealgan from the tip in a clockwise motion and start drafting and spinning your fibre into yarn. I found it easier to make a temporary cop on the upper part of the Dealgan so you can then start winding your final cop by winding three times then slightly turning the Dealgan and wind again, just like you would make a centre pulled ball by winding on a Nøstepinne.
Every Dealgan is unique and can have beautiful stone inlay or natural features, even some pyro graphic images.
Can’t find your dream Dealgan or need a special text added or a stone inlay? Ask for a custom order! Always Happy to Enable, Contact Us.