This is Hazel, Edinburghs punk spinner. Hazel can be found on Edinburghs Royal Mile. Scotland.
She spins sheep wool into yarn
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The spinning of wool and linen fibres into yarn has been practiced in Scotland for many centuries, as evidenced by the discoveries of early spinning devices. Early spindles consisted of a stick through the center of a flat disc attached to it for the weight. This was known as a whorl, or dealgan in Gaelic. The whorl could be made of wood, stone, and in later periods even a potato. Obviously, the ancient whorls which have survived were made of stone.
The type of spinning done with this device dates from prehistoric times, not only in Scotland, but in many other areas of the world. Some third-world countries, even today, utilize this method of spinning. A bundle of cleaned fibres could be attached to a staff, or cuigeil, to aid in the spinning process. It was kept upright at one’s side by being fixed in a belt fastened around the waist and steadied by the arm. This method of spinning was known as distaff spinning.
The distaff, or fearsaid, was not always used, as the spindle itself could be spun by being suspended so that the spinner could work while standing or walking, thus creating a greater length of thread. Having set it in motion by the fingers and thumb, the fibres, which have been attached to the spindle, are twisted into thread of the requisite fineness. The spinner continued to draw off fibre from the distaff, spinning until a convenient length was obtained, and then would wind the thread around the spindle, repeating the operation and removing the balls of completed yarn to be woven when a sufficient supply had been spun.
Spinning was a female task done in the home to provide bedding and clothing for the family. Most Highlanders lived in remote areas and small villages, so that all their possessions were hand-crafted. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 18th century that males started to spin as an occupation as part of “spinning schools” at the very start of the industrial revolution. This occurred in the larger towns and more populous areas.