Help, I’m a Spinster Woman!

How blindsided of me that it took 25 years to connect the term “spinster woman” to the craft of spinning?

In my curiosity, I researched the term. According to the Online Etymological Dictionary,

A spinster: mid-14c., “female spinner of thread,” from M.E. spinnen (see spin) + -stere, feminine suffix. Spinning commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote “an unmarried woman” in legal documents from 1600s to early 1900s, and by 1719 was being used generically for “woman still unmarried and beyond the usual age for it.”

Interesting, though I am married. There goes that theory. But I suppose according to social norms of 1719, I nearly missed the exit, being all of 19 when I got married… Practically an old maid.

In all seriousness, I think I may have a problem. I’m trying to spin EVERYTHING! At one point I even looked at the hair accumulated in my hairbrush and thought, “…maybe…”

My most recent attempt was the long tail fur of my dogs. That merits explanation… My border collies’ hair gets really really long in winter. In a highland climate, that would serve a practical purpose. But where I live, it was 74° last week in the first part of February so needless to say, extra fur is superfluous. On top of that, they tend to drag it through their…business…when they’re going potty outside. So I trimmed their tails and haunches. They truly are great sports. And in any case, look less wild and feral. My attempts to spin it were not as fruitful.

Left to right: Anna and Cyd

The fur didn’t have enough natural crimp to hold the twist. It was very coarse, straight, and thick. The best I could get was a rough, black and white twine. The staple length would have been perfect had the hair actually spun well.

In the mean time, I’ll probably continue trying to spin random fibers… The jar of cotton balls in my bathroom intrigues me.


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