Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Working on Spinning, again.

Spinning, as a research topic, has been occupying me a lot lately, and the next paper that I'm going to give, and that is currently in preparation, will also focus on spinning as an important part of textile production.

This time around, I am planning to look a bit more at the physics of what holds a yarn together, and to the properties of yarns with high vs. low twist, before launching into a look at different spinning methods - the one typical for modern hand-spinners today in the western world, and the two methods that can be reconstructed for medieval spinning.

The topic of spinning never ceases to rope me in and keep me interested. There are so many questions left - such as why there is a different spinning technique depicted on the few images from Hallstatt and the many more images from medieval times, even though Hallstatt threads were also high twist? Why is our modern technique not the medieval one anymore? When did those changes take place, exactly?

Spinning, to me, is the building block for almost every other textile technique that comes after. The properties of the yarn will influence everything done with said yarn - which means that you have to start with the spinning if you want something specific reconstructed as closely to the original as possible. And that, in turn, is a wonderful challenge for a spinner.


Panth said...

Ooh! I'm glad someone is taking the "why is modern spinning and medieval spinning completely different" question seriously.

As for the why, I suspect it has an awful lot to do with this: the craft revival in the 1970s was initiated and driven by people in the USA (and many/most literature has come from Americans and/or people taught by Americans (or people taught by people who were taught by Americans, etc.)). If living in the USA and trying to revive crafts, the principle source/inspiration was native peoples of the USA and central and southern America. They spin very similarly to modern spinning.

As for the why of that, perhaps it has something to do with fibres? Native American people principally spinning cotton and other shorter-fibred things, whilst Europeans historically spun linen and long-fibred sheep wool?

That's my best guess.

Vaire said...

Medieval spinning is something I am very interested in. Would this paper be available after the conference even to the people who could not attend?