In Fibre and Textile Crafts


Spinning is a historical textile art in which plant, animal or synthetic fibres are twisted collectively to form yarn. For thousands of years, fibre was spun by hand using simple tools, the spindle and distaff. Only in the High Middle Ages did the spinning wheel amplify the output of individual spinners, and mass-production solely arose in the 18th century with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. Hand-spinning remains a popular handicraft.

Spinning by hand has been existence for over 10,000 years, however, the spinning wheel did no longer grow to be used widely till the centre ages. Hand spindles had been the fundamental approach of spinning for all thread and yarn manufacturing for over 9000 years, and in some components of the world hand spinning is nevertheless a widely used technique of yarn production. In the most primitive kind of spinning, tufts of animal hair or plant fibre are rolled down the thigh with the hand, and additional tufts are brought as needed till the desired length of spun fibre is achieved.

Later, the fibre is fixed to a stone which is twirled spherical until the yarn is sufficiently twisted, whereupon it is wound upon the stone and the manner repeated over and over. The next technique of spinning yarn is with the spindle, a straight stick eight to twelve inches long on which the yarn is wound after twisting. At first the stick had a cleft or split in the top in which the thread used to be fixed. Later, a hook of bone was added to the top end. The bunch of wool or plant fibres is held in the left hand. With the right hand the fibres are drawn out several inches and the end fastened securely in the slit or hook on the pinnacle of the spindle.

A whirling action is given to the spindle on the thigh or any handy part of the body. The twisted yarn is then wound on to the top part of the spindle. Another bunch of fibres is drawn out, the spindle is given another twirl, and the yarn is wound on the spindle, and so on. In medieval times, poor families had such a need for yarn to make their very own fabric and garments that practically all-female and unmarried girls would hold busy spinning, and “spinster” became synonymous with an unmarried woman.

Most authors agree that the exercise of spinning fibres to form thread and yarns has been in existence for over 10,000 years. The spinning wheel, the tool most many times associated with the artwork of spinning, was no longer introduced to Europe till in the late Middle Ages/early Renaissance. Thus, the drop spindle was once the most important spinning tool used to spin all the threads for clothing and fabrics from Egyptian mummy wrappings to tapestries, and even the ropes and sails for ships, for nearly 9000 years.

The oldest real “tool” used for spinning thread were frequent rocks. As the first spinners were nomadic tribes from pre-agrarian societies, it is unlikely that they would have carried their rocks from camp to camp, and would use stones discovered at every new site for their spinning. A leader thread would be spun by using twisting the fibres between the fingers to a desired length, then the ensuing thread would be tied around the rock. The rock may want to then be turned around to spin the fibres as they are performed out between the fingers. Spinning with rocks is nonetheless accomplished in far off parts of Asia among the nomadic tribes. A hooked stick is some other historical “tool” used for spinning.

Whereas the rock would be used greater like a drop spindle, a stick cut from the branches of a tree would be used to spin the fibres by rolling the stick horizontally along the size of your thigh to put twist into the fibres. The first sticks may additionally have been straight, and were a natural outgrowth of rolling the fibre along the size of their leg to twist the fibres. As with the rock, the time and place of the foundation of this spinning device is unknown.

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Medieval spinners often used a distaff, (a stick with a fork or ornate comb on the tip used to maintain long-staple fibres while spinning) to keep their fibres whilst they have been spinning with a spindle. This stick was commonly held under the left arm according to most pictures – which means that the spinners would have had to set their spindles in motion with their right hand, and feeding their fibre with the right hand.

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