Spinning Wheel Got to Go Round…
At our recent Prayer Shawl Meeting in April we were fortunate to see a spinning wheel demonstration by mixed media artist and musician, Emily Christine Cote. Christine is a self-taught spinner living in northern Illinois. Spinning is an ancient textile art. Plant, animal or synthetic fibres are drawn out and twisted together to create the beautiful yarn we use to make our prayer shawls. A spindle and distaff were the original hand tools. Later in the High Middle Ages the spinning wheel was developed increasing output. Hand-spinning remains a popular handicraft today in spite of mass production in hi-tech mills.
Spinning wheels used to be very large and were known as “great wheels”. They were turned by hand and crafted out of many different types of wood. Later both hands were free to work the thread by adding a foot treadle. This sped up production even more.
Emily brought a wheel that had a double treadle and various types of fibre for her demonstration. Currently, she is working with hemp and alpaca she obtained from local farms. Emily first showed us how the fibres are “carded” and pulled apart to remove knots and lumps making it soft and easy to twist. It takes a trained hand to know how “thick” to make the strand creating different weights of yarn. Strands that are uneven or too thin can easily break apart.
Emily is the owner of the Good Toast Handmade Shop. She sells many of her handmade products and edibles on-line (through Etsy). In addition to spinning and baking with all natural products, she makes handmade paper and stationary from recycled paper, as well as macramé hammocks and dreamcatchers. In addition, this very versatile young woman also revives and records old folk music songs with her guitar which can be purchased on-line.
Please take the time to visit her website www.goodtoasthandmade.com or call Emily at 847-438-3189. If you have fibre that needs to be spun, Emily is happy to take orders of any size and will work with you on specific projects.
Christine Emily Cote, Mixed media artist