The Old Spinning Wheel

The other night I was talking to a woman about how certain aptitudes seem to come down through the generations, like it is in your blood. She was telling me about her own history in Prince Edward Island coming from a background of artists and how she learned about, and developed an appreciation for beautiful things.

My earliest recollection of my Swedish grandmother, is of watching her spend hours upon hours, spinning and carding wool. I knew she found solace in the rhythmic constancy of the spinning. She also made beautiful quilts. She fashioned bits of satin into flowers of all different colours, to create a big bouquet in the center. Then she would embroider stems and apply the leaves. Sometimes she made the flowers out of a combination of fabrics – brocades, velvet or printed cottons. The quilt, with its layers of wool in the center, was her canvas.

The spinning looked simple enough. As an adult, I have not had a chance to study  many spinning wheels. When I did, I realized it is not that simple. I chatted with a woman who does spin, and is quite passionate about it. She said she had learned how to spin from watching You Tube videos, which makes a great deal of sense, since you can pause it and go over sections, you don’t yet grasp. She also explained, how at first it is a real struggle, like you want to tear your hair out. But then – when you get it, you can’t understand why you found it so difficult. I told her about my grandmother and how it almost seemed like spinning was an escape for her, and a way to relax – while shutting the world out.

From what I have read, spinning is an art form. Like other art forms, there is a variety of ways to approach it. In essence it is the art of twisting fiber, fleece, wool, silk, alpaca, angora, mohair, flax, etc. into a continuous thread. It can be spun thick or thin, plyed or unplyed, dyed, or left natural.

The You Tube website is called “The Joy of Spinning”. It turns out spinning does have an effect on the limbic system, and pathways in the brain, to create a sort of Zen-like state. You get into a flow, yet at the same time, you have to maintain concentration.

Although I don’t know how to spin yarn in the real sense, I am most convinced there is joy and relaxation to be found in doing so.

Because my Grandma proved something to me long ago…Our brains like to spin!

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2014). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Valerie Hayes

Quiet West Vintage represents a private vintage and designer collection that has been gathered and stored over a thirty-five year period. I now look forward to sharing this collection and promoting the "Other Look" - a totally individualistic approach to style.