You’ve got to love it right? Who doesn’t? You go to your nearest craft or department store and there’s walls and walls of the stuff, but what is it really? As a crafter, whether you knit or crochet, you’ve probably wondered at least once about the origins of those interlocked fibers you’re weaving together(“yarn”).
Yarn n. – thread made of natural or synthetic fibers used for knitting and weaving.
Most of us know what yarn is by definition and at a glance it’s just a mundane object, but behind this mundane object is a long and intricate history. Some historians believe that yarn has been around for about 27,000 years (Dolni)! In this point of time, the predominate material used in this process was plant fiber. As time progressed, plant fiber was traded in for cotton, silk, and/or wool, or animal furs and instead of manually spinning the yarn thread by hand, the spindle and it’s many variations and additions, was born.
Fast forward to 1764, just as the Industrial Revolution was starting out, an Englishman by the name of James Hargreaves created the spinning jenny. This invention proved to be so effective that those in his village that still spun by hand, broke into his home and destroyed his machines and he was forced to relocate (Encyclopedia).
With time, technology advanced and demand for spun fiber increased and in Czechoslovakia 1963, open-end spinning was introduced which was less physically demanding than methods used before it (C.A. Lawrence).
So the next time, you’re sitting back with your coffee and your project, maybe you will consider all the time and innovation it took to develop this medium as you know it.
“yarn”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 27 Aug. 2017
“Dolni Vestonice and Pavlov sites”. Donsmaps.com. Retrieved 27 Aug. 2017
Espinasse, Francis (1874). “Lancashire Worthies.” London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. Retrieved 27 Aug. 2017
Encyclopædia Britannica, editor. “James Hargreaves.” 28 Apr. 2016, Accessed 27 Aug. 2017.
Carl A Lawrence (2010) “Advances in Yarn Spinning Technology” pp. 261–273, Woodhead Publishing, Oxford