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What does Spinning mean?

Spinning is the process of pulling and twisting natural or synthetic fibers into yarn. Dating back as far as 8000 BC, it was originally a tedious process done by hand, using just a distaff to hold the unwound fibers and a spindle to hold the finished yarn. Spinning was considered women’s work and required a great deal of patience.

Heddels explains Spinning

The process greatly improved with the invention of the spinning wheel in China or India between 500 and 1000 AD, with the first documented example being from Baghdad in 1237. Then, in 1764, James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, a multi-spool spinning frame that drastically reduced the amount of time and energy needed to spin yarn. This was quickly followed by other developments that further improved the spinning process and cemented the change from hand spinning to machine spinning. Today, several steps are included in the spinning process, including carding, combing, drafting, winding, and testing. There are also a variety of methods used to spin yarn, including ring spinning, mule spinning, open end spinning, rotor spinning, and dref friction spinning. The yarn used for jeans is most often created through ring-spinning or open end spinning.

*In addition to its technical history, spinning has played an integral role in the mythology of many cultures, with stories such as Spider Woman (Navajo) and Arachne and Athena (Greek). It is even found in many of our modern fairy tales, including Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty.

Additional Resources

Here is an example of the spinning process:

Heddels Definition - Spinning