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Knitting, Crocheting & Weaving

Spindle & whorl


Spinning, or the rolling of fibres between the fingers to produce a continuous lenth of yarn was known in neolithic times.  The process could be speeded up by placing a weight or whorl over a stick or spindle to create momentum.


In this region the spindle was replaced by the spinning wheel in the late Middle Ages.  A large belt driven wheel rotated a flyer and a bobbin at different speeds, enabling the yarn to be both spun and wound on in the same operation.


During the 1760s James Hargreaves invented the 'spinning jenny'  which was capable of producing yarn on several spindles at once.  During the next decade Richard Arkwright designed the water frame which enabled many spinning machines, all under one roof, to be driven by complex gearing.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries & Galloway Council