| This is a hand spindle, used for spinning flax. It is 12" long and 3/4" diameter at the thickest point.
The hand spindle is a type of spinning tool that could be used in place of a spinning wheel. A whisp of hatcheled flax fibers would be wound around the thin end of the spindle. Then holding the flax fibers above, the spindle would be allowed to hang freely below. Given a beginning turn, the spindle would spin around in the air, in the process twisting the fibers in the same manner as the spinning wheel's spindle. After a length of the fibers would be twisted around on themselves, and a portion of thread formed, it would be wound around the thicker part of the spindle, and more loose fibers attached. The process of introducing new loose fibers to the forming length of thread would be continued and then the newly spun thread would be wound around the spindle, adding to its weight and aiding in the turning of the spindle.
Note: This is the item upon which Sleeping Beauty would have pricked her finger in the Grimm Brothers fairy tale.