FSEM Reflection 3: Making Yarn

This week, we got to spin our own yarn out of wool. We used drop spindles—mine was a top-whorl drop spindle, meaning the whorl is located near the top of the shaft.  It was really difficult at first, but after getting a few tips from the professionals, I got pretty comfortable doing it. That’s not to say the product was any good. The ladies from the spinning and weaving guild called it “novelty yarn.” Although it sounds pretty cool—and is apparently more expensive at the store—it just means that the thickness of the yarn varies. In my yarn’s case, it varied a lot.

Through this experience, I was able to learn something that I will probably never forget: why a drop spindle is called a drop spindle. One reason is because we hold onto the yarn and drop the spindle in order to create twist. The other reason is because if your yarn is too thin (which mine was), the spindle will drop. And drop it did. I think my spindle fell about five or six times. Luckily, I was standing in an open space and I was able to catch the spindle before it hit the ground. The unlucky ones got called out by one of our guests, I believe her name was Theresa, as she would yell, “Drop spindle!”

I’m very glad that in today’s society, we can simply walk into a store and buy a shirt or pants or even a rug. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have to spin yarn every waking moment of my life. We learned that if you couldn’t or didn’t spin, you would be considered useless to the family. I think that with my “expert” spinning skills, I’d be considered counterproductive.

-Jane Kim

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