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Below is a brief history of spinning and weaving, two of my favorite past times.
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Spinning is an ancient art in which plant, animal or synthetic fibers are twisted together to form yarn. For thousands of years, fiber was spun by hand using simple tools, the spindle and distaff. Spindling is the ancient craft of spinning yarn on a spinle. The spindle was used long before the spinning wheel was invented. Until 400-500 years ago, all yarn was spun on this humble tool.
Only in the High Middle Ages did the spinning wheel increase the output of individual spinners, and mass-production only arose in the 18th century with the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci designed the first treadle wheel, in the early 1500's. This invention enabled spinners to greatly increase output and quality of their work.
Characteristics of spun yarn vary based on the material used, fiber length and alignment, quantity of fiber used, and degree of twist.
Cloth is woven on a loom, a device for holding the warp threads in place while the filling threads are woven through them. Although, many items are woven "off loom", on such items as a picture frame, cardboard, pin weaving and finger weaving.
The manner in which the warp and filling threads interlace with each other is known as the weave. The three basic weaves are plain weave, satin weave, and twill, and the majority of woven products are created with one of these weaves.
Woven cloth can be plain (in one color or a simple pattern), or it can be woven in decorative or artistic designs, including tapestries. Fabric in which the warp and/or weft is tie-dyed before weaving is called ikat.