My Ryukyu spinning wheel was made by Mr. Oshiro, a 3rd generation floor loom and spinning wheel craftsman from Haebaru, Okinawa-Japan.  It is handcrafted from cedar and bamboo.

Basho Spinning Wheel_w

Initially, i learned to use my wheel to spin basho banana fibers after the fibers have been retted, split, and hand-tied.

my_basho_i_and_ii_scharine-kirchoff_w

Basho banana fiber skeins: (1) retted and split (right) and (2) retted, split, hand-tied, and handspun (left)

Spinning basho fibers is quite different from spinning other bast fibers like linen, for example.  Since basho threads are joined together by hand-tying first, there is no need to spin the fibers together to join them.  Instead, the basho fibers are handspun while applying a slight twist to the yarn which strengthens the basho for the subsequent resist-tying, hand-dyeing and handweaving into bashofu abaca cloth.

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Basho fibers retted, split, hand-tied and hand-spun

Now, i am utilizing my Ryukyu spinning wheel to explore handcrafting other fibers such as paper and cotton.  Each thread created is a means for chimugukuru, a celebration of the heart and soul of Okinawa.

 

 

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