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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Spinning Classes This Saturday

At Tempe Yarn & Fiber we want to offer you the opportunity to explore as many areas of the fiber arts world as you wish. Starting the Saturday we have a learn to spin class scheduled.

As a spinner, the feelings that you get as the fiber slips through your fingers, the plying and the wonderful end product (yarn) is hard to describe. You start spinning and before you know it 3 hours have passed.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, give us a call (480-557-9166) to sign up.

History of Spinning

No one really knows when the first spun fiber was made. The oldest known fabric is from 6300 BC (Turkey) and already showed great skill.

All fabrics were made from yarns spun from animals and plants until the mid 1800’s and all yarn colors were made with natural dyes from plants and bugs. Textiles and wool were very important commodities throughout history. Great Britain tried very hard to keep sheep out of America so they could force the colonies to buy textile products from abroad. Sheep did make to the colonies but at first they were so scarce that any person who killed or harmed a sheep was executed even if they were the owner!

An industrious housewife was one that spent every spare minute spinning either for her family’s own use or as barter for other items. Being a spinner was a symbol of value and thrift.

Originally, being a spinster meant that you spun yarn. However, in the 1700’s spinster became the legal term for unmarried women past their "prime". This was because the best spinners were always unmarried. Developing the skill necessary to make the finest yarns required more time than any married women with children could afford. Therefore being a spinster of the highest skill also meant you were unmarried!!

In the 1600’s up to the 1800’s young girls made up the spinning labor force (6 to 9 years old) and worked extremely long hours for low wages. But in the 1800’s spinning became mechanized and textiles were soon a major player in the industrial revolution. However, even with these dramatic changes in the industry, spinning wheels were still common in households up in to the early 1900’s.

Today in the United States there has been a renewed interest in handspinning and demonstrations are found at many festivals and fairs. There are festivals and conferences that are specifically designed for handspinners held all over the country.

History by Lori Flood

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