Spinning and Handspun – What is it?

By Leslie Arnold

Spinning is the art of drawing out and twisting fibers of wool, cotton, flax or hair into thread, by hand. Spinning is also called hand spinning or hand spun. As the word suggests, hand spinning is done by hand without the use of a machine. Although there are many manufactured yarns that are considered hand spun, the majority of hand spun is done by an individual instead of by a company.

The idea of twisting fibers together to make a yarn that could be made into material has been around for almost 27,000 years. Archaeologists are still uncovering ancient fibers that were created by some form of spinning.

Most spinners today use spinning wheels or drop spindles to create their yarn. Many spinners began learning their craft or art by using a drop spindle. Some prefer to continue using their drop spindle, while others preferring to move into using a spinning wheel. After much practice, both are very productive means of spinning fiber into yarn.

Unlike days of old where people spun as a means clothing them and paying their taxes, today many people spin for relaxation. Spinning takes a great deal of practice before the spinner becomes proficient in the art or craft. After one has learned to spin, the act of spinning becomes relaxing. The drawing and releasing of the fiber into the spinning wheel or on to a drop spindle creates a rhythm which seems to promote a calming effect on the person spinning.

Spinning today is also a social event since the revival of spinning and weaving guilds that have sprung up through the country. Many social events for spinners are the workshops that spinners enroll in not only to fine tune their art or craft but also to be around other people who enjoy spinning. There are fiber fairs throughout the country that are open to the public. Another social event is the fiber bee, much like the quilting bees of days gone by, which allow spinners to get together. Both men and women spin today.

Hand spinning is also done for profit. There is much demand for hand spun yarn today as people who knit, crochet and weave enjoy this type of yarn for their projects. The price of hand spun is dependent upon whether the hand spun is done by a manufacturing company or by an individual. The type of fiber, the hours spent spinning and the region of the country will also affect the price of the finished product.

There are many spinning classes offered today. Some classes are offered through knitting stores or yarn shops. There are also classes that are offered through the local knitting guilds as well as through local weaving guilds. Some community colleges offer spinning classes through their continuing education classes.

Leslie Arnold has been spinning for more than 25 years. She writes on arts and craft related issues. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Leslie_Arnold