Spinning some textile history

Did you know that the Venus de Milo, famously arm-less these days, was probably positioned the way she is because she was spinning thread? Scholars believe that she was spinning with her right hand and holding a distaff (with fibers ready to be added to the yarn) upheld in her left. Apparently the Greek manner of hand spinning didn’t usually include a spindle and just used the fingers to twist the thread. Now that would give you great finger strength if you did it all day long; I bet you’d never have to ask your husband to open the pickle jar for you!

Found this fun fact in a book called Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. I’d recommend it if you’re into the history of textiles, particularly in ancient times. It’s very readable and engaging.

Speaking of books on the history of textiles and clothing, I recently reviewed Textiles: The Whole Story, by Beverly Gordon, for examiner.com. It’s a beautiful book, with amazing pictures of textiles from across the world and many historic periods, and an absorbing text. I would recommend both books for anyone who is interested in where our cloth and our clothes came from.

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