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TITLE
Miss MacDonald spinning outside her cottage, Benbecula
EXTERNAL ID
QZP99_93134_07_03
PLACENAME
Benbecula
DISTRICT
South Uist
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: South Uist
SOURCE
Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library
ASSET ID
38463
KEYWORDS
spinning
spinning wheels
jobs
work
crofting
tools
Miss MacDonald spinning outside her cottage, Benbecula

Before wool could be used to make clothes for people it had to be spun into yarn. This was originally done using a 'drop spindle', a weighted stick which stretched the wool and twisted it into yarn. This process was slow and done by hand but it was portable and could be done almost anywhere. Spinning wheels did not come into use in the Highlands until the early 19th century. The 'muckle wheel' was a large wheel turned by hand and requiring the spinner to walk back and forwards to tease the wool into yarn and wind the yarn onto a spindle. The smaller 'Saxony wheel' became common after 1850. It was operated by a treadle and could do the work much quicker than the drop spindle method. The Saxony wheel, like the one Miss MacDonald is using in this photograph, could be found in most crofting households across the Highlands. The work was undertaken by the women


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Miss MacDonald spinning outside her cottage, Benbecula

INVERNESS: South Uist

spinning; spinning wheels; jobs; work; crofting; tools

Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library

I F Grant Photographic Archive

Before wool could be used to make clothes for people it had to be spun into yarn. This was originally done using a 'drop spindle', a weighted stick which stretched the wool and twisted it into yarn. This process was slow and done by hand but it was portable and could be done almost anywhere. Spinning wheels did not come into use in the Highlands until the early 19th century. The 'muckle wheel' was a large wheel turned by hand and requiring the spinner to walk back and forwards to tease the wool into yarn and wind the yarn onto a spindle. The smaller 'Saxony wheel' became common after 1850. It was operated by a treadle and could do the work much quicker than the drop spindle method. The Saxony wheel, like the one Miss MacDonald is using in this photograph, could be found in most crofting households across the Highlands. The work was undertaken by the women <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: central.edsc.library@edinburgh.gov.uk">Edinburgh Central Library</a>