Who was the Einstein who invented spinning?

Improved resources for teaching spinning

This morning I spent an hour at the public Montessori school where I volunteer. The junior high classroom that I help out in has spinning wheels, looms, and bags of alpaca fleeces shorn from the farm’s alpacas just waiting to be spun up. I go in whenever I have a spare hour or so to make sure the wheels are running well and to wash fleeces, check out the indigo vat, or help troubleshoot if the kids are struggling with their spinning. 

This morning I oiled the wheels and adjusted them while Nicole and Dakota worked on spinning some of the Merino wool we had washed the last time I was there. As they spun and I carded up some rolags, Nicole and Dakota were musing about how smart the person who thought up spinning must have been—like Einstein, they conjectured. Nicole was asking about the wheel on the Country Craftsman she was spinning on, which led to a discussion of ratios. They asked me about the biggest wheel I had ever seen (I described a Pendulum wheel that I got to spin on at the Home Tool Textile Museum in Orwell, Pennsylvania, a few years ago), and they asked me about the smallest spinning wheel I had seen (I thought that must be a cigar-box charka). They loved the idea of being able to tuck a spinning device into their book bag for spinning on the go. Nicole mused about how much she liked the rhythm of spinning and the soft fiber in her hands. She’s working on a scarf to give to the alpaca that provided the fleece for her spinning.

I know so many of you similarly go out into your community to teach spinning—to groups of kids or adults or one-on-one to friends who have expressed an interest. Just for you, we’ve added an article to the free spinning wheel eBook we made last year—an article about troubleshooting at your wheel. It is a great addition to our thorough resource on spinning wheels, An Introduction to Spinning Wheels: How to Use and How to Choose a Spinning Wheel. Now in addition to how to use a wheel, ply on a wheel, and find the best wheel for you, we’ve included what you can do when the wheel (or your spinning) isn’t behaving how you would like. It is a great resource to point your students to or to use yourself.

Happy spinning,

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