Unravelling the Art, History, and Therapeutic Benefits of Creating Your Yarn


A spinning wheel is a tool used to create yarn or thread from natural fibres such as wool, cotton, or flax. It is an ancient invention, with evidence of its use dating back to at least the 11th century. The spinning wheel is made up of a wheel, a spindle, and a flyer. The wheel is turned by hand or foot, causing the spindle and flyer to rotate. The spinner then feeds fibre onto the spindle, which is drawn out and twisted by the flyer, creating yarn or thread. A spinner wheel has played a significant role in the production of textiles and clothing throughout history, and they continue to be used today by craftspeople and hobbyists. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, from traditional wooden spinning wheels to modern, electric models. Spinning is a meditative and satisfying activity, and the resulting yarn or thread can be used for a variety of projects, including knitting, weaving, and embroidery.

Types of Spinning Wheels

There are several types of spinning wheels, each with its unique characteristics and design. Here are some of the most common types:

  1. Saxony Wheel: A traditional spinning wheel with a horizontal orientation with the flyer and bobbin located at the front of the wheel. It is known for its smooth and quiet operation and is often used for fine spinning.
  1. Castle Wheel: This type of spinning wheel has a vertical orientation, with the flyer and bobbin located in a “castle” or upright frame. It is compact and portable, making it a popular choice for travel and small spaces.
  1. Charkha Wheel: A portable spinning wheel used in India and other parts of Asia. It has a small, tabletop design and is typically operated by hand. It is commonly used for spinning cotton fibres.
  1. Electric Wheel: A modern spinning wheel that is powered by electricity. It is designed to make spinning faster and easier, and it can handle a wide range of fibres.
  1. Great Wheel: An early type of spinning wheel that is large and has a vertical orientation. It is operated by hand and is known for its fast spinning speed.
  1. Norwegian Wheel: A traditional spinning wheel from Norway with a unique design with a flyer and bobbin located on the side of the wheel. It is known for its fast and efficient operation.
  1. Walking Wheel: A large spinning wheel that is operated by walking back and forth. It has a horizontal orientation and is commonly used for spinning wool.

Each type of spinning wheel has its advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one depends on the spinner’s preferences, skill level, and intended use.

Benefits of Using Spinning Wheels

There are many benefits to using spinning wheels, both practical and therapeutic. Here are some of the main benefits:

  1. Creates Yarn: The primary benefit of spinning wheels is that they allow you to create your yarn from natural fibres. This can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, as you get to see your finished product take shape.
  1. Control over Quality: By spinning your yarn, you have complete control over the quality and characteristics of the yarn. You can choose the type of fibre, the thickness of the yarn, and the twist level, allowing you to create a yarn that is perfect for your specific project.
  1. Eco-Friendly: Spinning your yarn is an eco-friendly way to create textiles. By using natural fibres and avoiding synthetic materials, you are reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future.
  1. Therapeutic: Spinning can be a meditative and calming activity. The repetitive motion of spinning can help reduce stress and anxiety, and many spinners find it to be a form of mindfulness.
  1. Historical and Cultural Significance: Spinning has played an important role in many cultures throughout history, and using a spinning wheel can be a way to connect with and honour those traditions.
  1. Creative Outlet: Spinning allows you to express your creativity and experiment with different colours, fibres, and textures. It can be a fun and rewarding hobby, and the possibilities are endless.

Overall, spinning wheels offer many benefits, from practical to therapeutic. Whether you are a seasoned spinner or a beginner, spinning is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that can bring many benefits to your life.


Spinning wheels are fascinating and versatile tools that have played a significant role in the production of textiles throughout history. Whether you’re a professional spinner or a beginner, spinning can be a rewarding and creative activity that offers many benefits, including creating your yarn, controlling the quality of the yarn, eco-friendliness, therapeutic effects, and historical and cultural significance. From traditional designs to modern, electric models, spinning wheels come in a wide range of styles and sizes, making it easy to find one that suits your needs and preferences. Overall, spinning wheels offer a unique and satisfying way to express creativity, connect with tradition, and create something beautiful and practical.