- Purchase/rental options available:
This article is intended to expand current understandings of the commercial revolution of the medieval European economy by considering women's work as spinners of yarn and thread in the development of the medieval textile industry. Women's work in the central Middle Ages changed with the introduction of water-powered mills for grinding grain into flour for bread. As such water mills were introduced, women could turn to the preparation and spinning of wool into yarn. These female spinners or spinsters were both villagers and village-girls who had migrated to towns. Even with the introduction of the spinning wheel, spinning remained the great bottleneck in medieval textile production, because warp threads continued to be spun by hand. Thus, women's work in spinning wool and other fibers was central to the expansion of medieval European textile production.