Hand spinning is such an ancient craft which has been going on in its many forms for thousands of years all over the world. Drop spindles are the most accessible way of learning to spin and there is archaeological evidence of hand-spun yarn as old as 20,000 years, which is remarkable to think it has survived all that time. This simple form of spinning uses a stick which is either cleft at the top or has the addition of a hook. You don’t need to invest in much to
start using a spindle and its good fun learning and even better when you get the hang of it.
According to the dictionary;
Handspinning is the art of twisting fiber, fleece, or roving of wool, silk, alpaca, angora, mohair, flax, etc. into a continuous thread by using a spinning wheel or drop spindle. The thread is spun thick or thin, plied or un-plied, and can later be dyed or left natural.
The first spinning wheel was used in the middle ages and became popular more and more widespread. Using a wheel meant the whole process of spinning could much more efficient and faster. More fleece could be hand spun in a shorter time.
Hand Spinning is not only functional it is also relaxing, Catherine who demonstrates spinning on some of our courses, says the circular motion of the wheel can feel quite meditative and certainly when you get into a good spinning rhythm with a spinning wheel you like using, it can be very relaxing.
Here at Wild Rose Escapes, we are very interested in learning whole processes and taking people back to the start of a process. That is why we start many of our courses hand-shearing our Shetland sheep. Moving on to washing (scouring), grading and sorting fleeces, making natural plant dyes, dyeing the fleece and then either felting or hand spinning it. There is something so satisfying about understanding and taking part in a complete process, it is both relaxing and rewarding.
Learning to spin can come very easily to some people and take a bit longer for others (a bit like riding a bike!) but once you have the motion and the rhythm you have that skill for life. When Bridie teaches hand spinning on our Dye to hand spin week, if participants have not spun before, they work in pairs until they feel confident enough to move onto working a wheel on their own. This gives everyone the chance to watch and learn from each other.
Dye to Hand Spin week, Wild Rose Escapes July 9th-16th 2016