Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Latest Spin

Serendipity Spinners will be spinning at Emma Prusch Park on February 18, 2017. We start gathering after 10 with a goal of being set up around 11. We have a short business meeting around 11:30 then Show & Tell. The afternoon is spend socializing, sharing fiber related tips, and demonstrating for whoever stops by. We generally disperse some time between 3 and 4.

Join us or stop by and say hello. We meet on the grass near the children’s play area. It’s a beautiful place to meet with chickens and peacocks wandering around the grounds. We welcome spinners who just want to drop in and spin, as well as members of the public that walk by and are curious about spinning.

Clothing – then and now

Nordic spindle whorl

11th century Nordic spindle whorl

Do you think spinning wheels are old-fashioned? Think again. Before spinning wheels there were spindles. Spindles are simply sticks with a weight on them that make them spin like tops. In late summer of 2010 a lead spindle-whorl with a Norse runic inscription was found in England. It dates to the 11the century, the Early Medieval period. You can  read about it here and see other pictures of it. It is about the diameter of a silver dollar.

 

Small clay spindle whorls

Early Bolivian spindle whorls

And then there are these Bolivian spindle whorls that are even smaller. They were found in the yard of a farmhouse in the Bolivian highlands and given to Laverne Waddington who researches and recreates the backstrap weaving techniques of early weavers. You may see more about her work here. These are even smaller than the 11th century whorl and were probably used to spin cotton.

 

A shaft, a stick of wood, would go through the center of these weights and be twisted like you would twist a top in order to put the spin in the fiber and give it the strength to be used in making cloth. How long do you think it would take to make all the clothes you have in your closet if the fibers were spun this way?