knitting blog

History of Yarn Spinning ( in Donegal Ireland)

I found this gem of a video on youtube and felt the need to share it.  I had set out to find some history of yarn spinning and knitting(the anthropologist in me) and stumbled upon it.  The video is filmed in Donegal county in Ireland, which conquidently is one of the places I did field work while in college.  Donegal is the breathtakingly beautiful north west corner of Ireland that many tourist don't go to.  It is also well known for it's sheep and strong cultural heritage.  

 Sheep at the Silver strand beach in Glencolmcille Ireland

Sheep at the Silver strand beach in Glencolmcille Ireland

Even though I wasn't a knitter at the time, I was able to go to the cultural center where I learned about the history of the surrounding area and their strong ties to sheep herding and wool.  I was able to make a small tapestry out of the hand dyed handspun yarn. It was also very common place while you were walking through the small town of  Glencolmcille to pass old men walking their sheep from once place to the next.  This county is also famous for it's beautiful thick fisherman sweaters that we always picture when thinking of celtic knits.  I really wish I had bought one in retrospect but they were costly(as they should be) and I was a 19 year old college student trading  cigarettes for drinks and it wasn't in the budget at the time. ( not a smoker but my dad insisted I take American cigarettes  to give to the locals, thanks dad)

I absolutely love this video all the way from the grainy quality to the wonderful old ladies and all of their different styles of wheel.  It truly captures the thriftiness and sociability of yarn and knitting that I think attracts so many of us to this craft to this day.  It's a bit slow starting  off so if you're in a hurry maybe skip ahead a few minutes to where you start seeing the spinning.  

Please share this post if you care to. I"m assuming if you are reading this you probably share my love of traditional hand crafts so lets help keep the understanding and tradition alive. I know that's what I"m trying to do every time I spin.  That's what I"m hoping to do by selling yarn is not to just keep my personal stash from getting out of control but to do my part in keeping the appreciation of handspun yarn and hand knit items alive.