Somewhere between 500 and 1000 AD, someone in India put together a marvelous contraption that revolutionized the way humans would create yarn and thread from fibres: the spinning wheel.
Spinning wheels replaced most hand spinning techniques with spindle based mechanization. Over time, further innovations led to single spinner machines evolving into industrial-scale jennys and frames, reducing the economic importance of spinning wheels and shifting the practice of using them first to the realm of local artisan craft, and then into a form of meditative exercise. Both of these activities continue into modern times.
On the strictly practical side, today's spinners (with increasingly innovative wheel designs, including single and double foot treadles as well as a handful of electric wheels) have carved out a niche for themselves by creating unique fiber blends and thread tensions, offering customers one of a kind products that larger yarn producers don't manufacture. On the recreational side, spinning as a hobby is drawing in a very large membership of people who find the practice stress-reducing, with the creation of yarn being a by-product of relaxing, socializing and operating either an antique, modern foot driven or motorized spinning wheel.
Our interconnected world has also made it much easier for people with similar hobbies to get in touch with each other through blogs or online communities, and this had created something of a recent renaissance in spinning. It seems that some things truly never quite go out of fashion.
Spinning! One of many threads tying our present to the distant past, helping us always remember where we came from even as we enjoy the many gifts of progress and new technology.