L’Oiseau and I recently watched Sleeping Beauty, and I remembered (with a jolt!) a small detail of the story: after the threat is made to the princess’s life, the king orders that every spinning wheel in the kingdom be destroyed. In the Disney movie, there’s even a scene that shows a big pile of spinning wheels on fire. Oh, my eyes!
It occurred to me that they neglected to show the scene years later when every person in the kingdom is either naked or dressed in tatters.
Where would we be without spinning? Sure, knitting and weaving are important, but without spinning, those pursuits couldn’t have been possible–what would they have knitted or woven with? I’m a knitter, and I very much want to begin spinning, partly because I realize that’s where it all begins.
It’s not often that I consider the immense history of this family of hobbies that I love so much, but it’s a long one.
Beyond the central necessity of spinning to pretty much every fiber-related pursuit, there is so much evidence that the act itself is extremely important to good and full human experience. Some historians believe that the first drop spindles, which came around 5000 BC (!) may have been the inspiration that led to the invention of the wheel around 3500 BC. And any discussion of spinning always brings to mind Mohandas Ghandi’s suggestion that all Indians spin for an hour each morning in order to realize the meditative effects of the practice. I’ve been told that he once said that more people spinning would result in less violence in the world (but I haven’t been able to find the exact quote).
I know that technology has evolved so that the act of spinning is no longer necessary for creating fiber, and some would say it’s an arcane activity, but I have to wonder what the world would be like if that simple act hadn’t come about so many millenia ago.