Most people don’t think about where their clothes come from, but members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, who re-enact medieval lifestyles, know it takes a lot of work to get from raw fibers to clothing.
On Saturday, members of the local SCA group held a hands-on day for learning about arts and sciences of the medieval ages, including spinning wool into yarn.
Sonia Clary, who has been spinning since she was a child, was teaching how to spin on a drop spindle, a wooden dowel with two cross pieces.
Clary has worked with raw wool given to her straight off the sheep before, but for Saturday’s spinning, she used already combed and dyed wool from Kodiak’s local fiber arts shop, The Rookery.
The already-spun yarn gets wrapped around the base of the spindle and tied in a half-hitch around the dowel. When spinning, the dowel hangs by the yarn coming off the top and is spun in a clockwise direction.
As the spindle turns, loose fibers are pulled into the twisting wool, caught up in the twist and wound into the strand of yarn.
“It’s not difficult,” Clary said. “But, it does take a little bit of getting used to.”
Eventually, Clary would like to have a spinning wheel to use for her fiber arts. A friend has one that breaks down into the size of a backpack.
Drop spindles were used back in medieval times to get children started spinning, but it’s also small enough to take places, unlike a wheel.
“About 6, 7, they would learn on a drop spindle. I was about 6 or 7 when I learned on the drop spindle,” Clary said. “The drop spindle’s wonderful because you can take it on the go and as you’re waiting around, you can get quite a bit of work done.”
Clary has used her yarn to make hats, lucite cord and inkel, material called that because it’s woven on an inkel loom.
The inkel can then be used as a belt or a table runner or a blanket.
The dark purple yarn that Clary has been spinning will probably end up as socks, she said.
“(Spinning) is a fun craft on its own that leads to other crafts,” Clary said.
Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.