For anybody who has heard the story of sleeping beauty, spinning fiber is an integral part of the story. In days of old, spinning was one of the most important skills a woman (thank you patriarchy!) learned, in addition to weaving, stitching and embroidery. Without the ability to spin, no clothing could be made. After spinning, the threads/yarns were loaded onto manual looms and created clothing for everyone in the family. The most common fiber spun was wool. Most archaeologists agree that humans have been spinning wool for at least 10,000 years. However, the Chinese began spinning silk into cloth somewhere around the 27th century BCE. Linen, which is spun from the fiber of flax has been happening since close to 4000 BCE. The Egyptians began growing and spinning cotton 600-700 C.E. First known spindles were actually rock, but archaeologists have found hand spindles in Late Neolithic villages in, what would be Germany, associated with linen production. It wasn’t until around 1000 C.E., in China, that the spinning wheel was invented. Eventually, making its way along the silk road to Europe in the high middle ages. In the early Industrial Revolution machines were developed to both spin and weave.
With the invention of machines to spin and mechanical looms, the skill has fallen by the wayside for most people. Most people, nowadays, don’t really think about where all the clothes that they wear come from. However, there has been a kind of revolution in fiber arts recently. Knitting and crocheting have always been something that people did, mostly women of course. I even remember my great grandmother doing tatting, a form of crocheting with fine thread to create lace and doilies, while she would listen to the radio at night. As I have thought about skills that were or would be necessary in a self-sufficient lifestyle, spinning came to mind immediately. I thought about it for about a year before deciding to purchase a hand spindle and some wool. I found an amazing Etsy shop whose owner, Jodi Dominick, was absolutely awesome as far as advising me as to what was the best way to learn. I will include links for both of her stores at the end of the article. So here I was with a brand-new hand spindle and a pound of wool roving (wool that’s been washed and combed for easier spinning). I knew that I wanted natural colored wool because I was intent on finding a way to dye it naturally.
I watched several YouTube videos on how to proceed (there are also books available also on Jodi’s Etsy store). There is definitely a learning curve, but all said and done, it’s not only quite easy but extremely relaxing. It has become something that I do at night as I binge-watch, especially since we’ve been sheltered in place. One of the things that I have discovered is that my mood definitely affects the final result of the yarn. This brought something right to the forefront of my mind. Spinning with intention.
I started to create a mental image of what I would make with what I was spinning. This intention is the same type of focus used in magickal working. I was working on yarn for a blanket for my newest grandchild, the 1st granddaughter. So, as I spun, I thought about her protection, how I wish that her life would not only be long but full of beauty, peace, knowledge. That she would grow to be strong, independent, creative and full of a knowing that she was special. As I spun, I pictured the yarn being imbued with the qualities that I wanted her to be wrapped in. I am still spinning yarn for her. You would be amazed at how much yarn you can spin out of 1 pound of roving. I have already ordered different fibers (flax, bamboo and merino) and discovered an entire medium of art and magick that I wasn’t even aware existed. I think I have developed a new addiction. There are 1000s of ways to combine nature and color and imbue this art with magick. I look forward to when my granddaughter comes to live near me, I can’t wait to see the results of this type of magick working and knowing that I’m capable of so much more than what seems to appear to the world to be a just a mundane art. Now I can proudly call myself a spinster!
If you are interested in purchasing a spindle or books from The Spinnery click here.
If you are interested in buying roving or other fiber form Slim Chicken click here.