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TITLE
Spinning in the Outer Hebrides
EXTERNAL ID
QZP99_93154_06_01
PLACENAME
North Uist
DISTRICT
North Uist
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: North Uist
SOURCE
Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library
ASSET ID
38515
KEYWORDS
spinning
wool
crofting
houses
buildings
crafts
Spinning in the Outer Hebrides

This photograph shows a woman sitting outside her house spinning. Windows in croft houses were small and did not let in much light, so it was common for women to do many of their domestic tasks outside

Before wool could be used to make clothes it had to be spun into yarn. This was originally done using a 'drop spindle', a weighted stick which stretched the wool out 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.


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Spinning in the Outer Hebrides

INVERNESS: North Uist

spinning; wool; crofting; houses; buildings; crafts

Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library

I F Grant Photographic Archive

This photograph shows a woman sitting outside her house spinning. Windows in croft houses were small and did not let in much light, so it was common for women to do many of their domestic tasks outside<br /> <br /> Before wool could be used to make clothes it had to be spun into yarn. This was originally done using a 'drop spindle', a weighted stick which stretched the wool out 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. <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>