Spinsters, Moral Fiber and Other Phrases

Things we say that come from spinning


Its Day 1 of Spinzilla 2015! So let’s have a Spinning in Cowgirl Boots video. Let’s spin up some yarn. Let’s figure out why elderly bacherlorettes are called Spinsters even if they have never spun yarn in their lives!

A spinster used to mean any unmarried female and back before the industrial age it was a pretty accurate term. A woman who didn’t have a husband had very few (respectable) ways to earn a living. Spinning yarn and thread would bring in a living wage so that is what they did. It was later that the term spinster became an insult. Spinsters were women who had missed their chance to get a husband and had to spin for the rest of their days. Today single ladies past a certain age are still called spinsters even though most of them wouldn’t know what to do with a spinning wheel if it landed on their front doorstep.

Personally I think that spinners of yarn have always been an independent and quirky lot and now any independent and quirky woman gets the honorary title of Spinster.

Speaking of quirky, have you heard of Spinzilla? Its like Godzilla but with yarn. And there is no radiation. And Tokyo is pretty safe.

Every year in October The National Needle Arts Association (TNNA) puts on a week long spinning competition. Teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn in a week. Last year I was on a team but this year I’m spinning rouge. I don’t think I have enough time to do any serious spinning. (Btw, if you don’t spin a mile of yarn for this you’re kind of slacking.) I didn’t want to take up valuable space on a team. But I’m still spinning! I’ll be spinning some every evening so expect a few spinning related posts this week.


PS. If you’ve been thinking of taking up spinning, lots of spinners are gathering together and spinning in public this week. They’d love it if you came out to visit and watch. Its a good opportunity to check out different wheels and see what you might like for yourself. Here is a list of teams.  Maybe there is one in your area.

PSS. If you like videos with me spinning yarn and rambling on, I have more. Check out my Spinning in Cowgirl Boots page!

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10 Comments on "Spinsters, Moral Fiber and Other Phrases"

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Hurray! Another rogue spinner! I too didn’t want to take up room on a team, as health issues haven’t let me spin since May. I managed a bit today, nowhere near past years, darn it. Let’s help make “Team Rogue” a winner! ?


I don’t spin well enough, or in enough bulk for Spinzilla! But perhaps I’ll take my wheel to my knitting group on Thursday, & get a little farther on my random bags of gray…


Never related the term “spinster” with the act of spinning. See I told y’all I always learn something here. And the color of that fiber is just delicious!


I love these pots. I always learn something.


I had planned to try out a drop spindle – for the second time in my life – at a Vermont fiber festival last Sunday. Maybe even BUY one!
As it turned out, I spent the entire time at the fair sitting indoors at a workshop on managing gastrointestinal worms in a goat or sheep herd (I raise cashmere goats) . So, no spinning education for me on Sunday, but I still have hopes that I’ll play around with it this winter.