Pioneer Crafts–the Spinning Wheel

Woman at spinning wheel Because of poor transportation and scarcity of markets pioneer families were often isolated, and life centered on the home where the arts of husbandry and domestic crafts reached a high degree of development in the 1840s—and most of the domestic output was left largely to women.  The spinning wheel was in more or less continuous use by housewives to produce yarn for knitting woolen winter garments but home looms were less common. Early dyes came from the woods, until commercial indigo and madder (red dyes produced from the roots of the Rubia tinctorum) became available. Clothing was meant to be durable, and there was much cutting down and remaking of jackets and dresses from the wearables of parents and older children.


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