Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Today we have ten inventions that made life easier. Since it doesn't specify inventions that have made my life easier, I'm thinking of inventions related to knitting and spinning. These are in approximate chronological order.
  1. The drop spindle. I couldn't find even a ballpark date of invention, undoubtedly because spindles made their appearance long before writing. We owe a lot to that prehistoric genius: spindling sure beats twisting fiber with your fingers.
  2. Knitting. Here again, no one is quite sure how old knitting is, but I tip my (knitted) hat to the First Knitter. I was going to say Continental knitting, which definitely made my life easier when I learned how to do it, but no one knows for sure how the First Knitter knitted.
  3. The spinning wheel. There's considerable uncertainty here: the invention is said to have been anywhere from 1500 to 500 years ago, in India or China or possibly Persia. Having had the somewhat unusual experience of learning to spin on a wheel first, I drink to this inventor also: the wheel made spinning (at least) twice as fast and much easier.
  4. The drum carder. The first patents for drum carders came in the 18th century; early ones were powered by hand or by draft animals, but they were still a big improvement over hand carding. One of these years I will own one.
  5. The spinning Jenny. Without it we'd still be spinning for several hours a day, every day, just to keep ourselves decently clothed, instead of doing it as a hobby.
  6. Circular needles. I couldn't find a date for these either, but single-pointed needles seem to have been invented in the 19th century, much later than I would have thought. Circular needles would have depended on the technology to produce a thin, flexible cord connecting two points, maybe around the turn of the 20th century? Something like that.
  7. Sock knitting on two circs/magic loop. Like many other knitting innovations, these methods seem to have been invented many times by many different people, starting not later than the 1970s. I know a lot of people like dpn's, and I bow to them, because I much prefer to use magic loop or two circs (I don't have a strong preference for either of these).
  8. Knitting blogs. There are many more mundane and practical applications of the Internet, everything from finding the best plane fare (although best is a relative term: I'm glad we're not flying anywhere this summer) to locating an expert in an esoteric subject, but knitting blogs have created a whole new social fabric, as it were (and knitbloggers know the strangest things).
  9. The Woolee Winder. It's pretty cool that people are still improving the venerable craft.
  10. Ravelry. Need I say more?
What did I miss?



  • The flyer on the spinning wheel. I think it was invented by Leo Davinci.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:04 AM  

  • I'm sure you missed things, but I can't think of them. Thanks for the list. I'm with you on Continental, 2-circs and Magic Loop!

    By Blogger AngeliasKnitting, at 10:34 AM  

  • I was wondering when someone was finally going to mention the drop spindle. It's probably the single most significant bit of technology in the whole of human history! We'd have died out long ago if we couldn't make cloth to keep ourselves warm. (Er, is that right?... I suppose we could just have hung around the equator forever, but it would have gotten awfully crowded...)

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 10:50 AM  

  • I was sure you were going to say toe up socks.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 7:23 AM  

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