Those of you who follow me elsewhere will know I spent about a month traveling around the US. I did quite a bit of spinning while traveling, because weaving just does not fit easily in an airline suitcase. Yes there are looms that will, but i have leant those out or have group projects on them at the moment. You will also know that since my return to the UK I have been having a hard time getting to sleep at an hour which is normal for me! My toddler is a 5-6 am wake up kind of kid, so I need to get to sleep early. I find my mind very active between 21:00 and 0:00 these past few nights. One of the things I have been thinking about is spinning and, unsurprisingly, weaving.
Right: the yarn I spun on our way from Vegas to Salt Lake City.
I was recently pondering my spinning and why it fits my life more easily now. As a working mom, it is far easier for me to take a drop spindle to work and do a bit of spinning on my breaks. A drop spindle is also easier to carry around while spending time outdoors with my son.
This lead me to ponder the transition of spinning, which was in ancient and early medieval times primarily women's work, to a male dominated profession. Well this is at least my current understanding. Admittedly I have not done the in depth research into weaving and spinning guilds which I have intended to do. However, it does at this time, make sense to me that while spinning was done on a drop spindle it would fall in the domain of women, who are in charge of rearing children. It is easy to understand how, particularly in Norse culture, spinning and weaving were tasks accomplished by women. In the morning while supervising the children, one can easily get out the drop spindle when the children are occupied and still be able to supervise them. It is also an easy and quick matter to put down your spindle to redirect your child's attention, pick something up for him/her, etc. Weaving is thought to have been done by every women in Norse villages. Each women could take her turn tending the village children and then have a turn at the loom. I have wondered if Norse children were all put down to nap together, so the women could tend to lunch, cleaning up, and possibly weaving.
We assume the children were taught to help with chores as soon as they were able, which was likely far sooner than they are now. Abby Franquemont writes that Andean children were taught to spin as soon as they could sit up on their own! I'm hoping to learn the trick of this form her next weekend! I would love to teach TAJ to spin. He loves watching my spindle and this past summer began to turn the spindle for me, though his method is a bit more batting the spindle than turning/flicking the spindle, we'll see what we can do.