Once upon a time, not too long ago in fact in the cosmic order of things, all women spun. The spinning wheel is actually a relatively new invention... before that women spun on spindles of various shapes and sizes. Before that, women spun on rocks, or simply by rolling fiber along their thighs. The reason so many had to spin was because hand spinning takes a LONG TIME to do... especially if you are spinning fine, high twist yarn/thread for weaving, which was the primary means of converting thread into fabric. In the last several weeks, I have been doing a LOT of spinning. But when I pick up a my spindle, or sit down at my wheel, sometimes I wonder... what would those women think of me today? I don't have to spin. I actually have no particular reason to do it at all, except that I enjoy it.
Would they like my appreciation for their craft?
Would they think I am wasting my time?
I don't know. But for me, my hand work builds an appreciation for their lives. A link between me, and my ancestors who spun, knit, and wove every stitch their families wore. Not because they wanted to, but because if they didn't, no one else would. And in my heart of hearts, I think that's why I enjoy spinning so much. I feel it as a connection to my grandmothers' grandmothers, back to the dawn of time. Would they think I'm an idiot? Maybe. But I think they were pretty awesome.