Monday, July 06, 2009

Spinning Thread

You've heard the Carl Sagan quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."

Well. In the days before the Renaissance, say, 1400 A.D. and previous, in order to have a dress to wear, you must first domesticate sheep.

Then sheer them, clean and prepare the wool, and spin it into thread. Then gather a lot of thread together, fasten some of it to a loom, and weave the rest crosswise through it, until you had a length of cloth. Then and only then, could you think about fitting that cloth onto your body for warmth and modesty and decoration.

For thousands of years, women spun thread All Day Long. Every day. They spun thread while they watched the babies, talked with their friends, walked around, looked for food. They stopped spinning long enough to stir the stew or skin the rabbit for dinner, and maybe they stopped while they slept (but they still dreamt about spinning, I bet).

It must have been as natural as breathing, for thousands of years. If you didn't spin, you had no clothes. Simple as that.

This picture shows a Greek woman spinning thread, and it sits outside a display showing a dozen weights that fit onto the spindle. Those weights held the spindle down. (The spinning wheel didn't come along until the 14th century or so.) The long wooden stick with fuzzy wool is called a distaff. A woman tucked the distaff into her belt or someplace handy, and plucked clumps of fiber from it, twisting them in her fingers to make thread.

Periodically, she gave the spindle a flick, like you would a toy top. As it spun, the new thread spun. The weight kept the spindle from swinging erratically, and when it touched the ground--when you'd spun out a few feet of thread, iow--you wrapped the new thread around the spindle and flicked it again.

If you ever go to a Renaissance Faire or something similar you'll see it. Fingers get very clever, and the process goes quickly--especially if you have to do it day and night. Just keep grabbing and twisting those fibers together into thread, and the spindle with its weight will keep twirling and stretching the thread out just so.

I wonder if spinning was stress-relieving? and if a woman developed carpel tunnel syndrome or got arthritic...yowch. Let's hope someone else stepped in before she had to run around naked!

13 comments:

救援部 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vix said...

Whoever is leaving me daily comments for this post in a language I cannot read: Please stop.
With all due respect, I cannot read these comments. You may be saying something valuable or cussing me out, but unless your words are in English and use the English alphabet, I cannot respond.

スタービーチ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
女に生れて来たからには!! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Howdy i am fresh here, I hit upon this forum I find It extremely helpful & its helped me out alot. I should be able to contribute & aid others like it has helped me.

Cheers, See You About.

Anonymous said...

hell yea.thanx for sharing this post with me.i just found it buy google couse i was searching for
more info about this.Ang WOOHOO! i found your post that was so usefull for me :)
feel free to drop me email i will send small donation! love for all you here.

Anonymous said...

Greetings,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at www.blogger.com.

May I use part of the information from this blog post above if I provide a link back to your website?

Thanks,
John

Vix said...

Anyone who'd like to quote the post with a link back is welcome to do so, and I thank you.
Don't know what it is about this particular post, but I delete dozens of comments weekly about drugs, escort services, and what-not. Grrr...

Anonymous said...

I’m nonetheless studying from you, however I’m enhancing myself. I certainly love studying all the pieces that's written in your blog.Keep the stories coming. I cherished it!
What i discover tough is to discover a blog that can seize me for a minute however your blog is different. Bravo.
Extremely rated post. I be taught one thing completely new on completely different blogs everyday. Deciding on one . stimulating to read the paper content from other writers and learn a little something from their website. I’d like to apply certain of this content on my blog you’re mind. Natually I’ll give a hyperlink right here we're at your web-site. Recognize your sharing.
Hey – nice blog, just trying around some blogs, appears a fairly good platform You Are using. I’m at the moment utilizing Drupal for a number of of my websites however seeking to change one in every of them over to a platform very a lot the identical to yours as a trial run. Something in particular you'll advocate about it?
Very effectively written information. Will probably be beneficial to anybody who usess it, together with myself. Keep up the nice work – for positive i will try extra posts.