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In the 18th and early 19th centuries a spinning wheel was a common feature in most homes, as part of most women's household chores included spinning yarn to be used for knitting. Because this type of spinning wheel requires the use of one hand to turn the wheel, only one hand is left free to work the fibers as they are spun, and wool is the easiest fiber to spin one-handed. The hand not turning the wheel would stretch out the fibers before they are twisted. The twist occurs because the yarn is held at a certain angle from the tip of the spindle so that it turns off and on the tip in fast succession and the twist then builds along the length of the wool. Once enough twist has been achieved, the yarn is wound onto the spindle where it will be removed onto a niddy-noddy when the spindle becomes full.
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