When Basehor resident and homeschool teacher Christine Henderson began preparing lesson plans for a unit on storytelling, she realized telling stories was something she enjoyed doing. 

It was a love of telling stories that led her to begin her own small business last year, Never Too Old For Stories!

It was while she was doing research about folktales that she recognized a common thread in many of those stories – a traditional spinning wheel. Since she was already a spinner, the image of the large, spinning wheel and drop spindle caught her attention when she noticed those images in fairytales like “Sleeping Beauty” and “Rumpelstiltskin.” 

Henderson’s research led her to learn about the integral part that spinning wheels and spindles played in the life of people before the industrial revolution. That research also led her to an Egyptian pyramid painting dating from 1900 B.C. showing a drop spindle being used to create thread from a loom.

Wanting to share her passion for both storytelling as well as spinning, Henderson approached Janice Garcia, adult education director at the Basehor Community Library, to see if she could host a class.

“I wanted to do a presentation on the history of the spinning wheel, its superstitions, fairytales and folktales and how the spinning wheel and drop spindle work, and Janice agreed,” Henderson said.  “I decided to teach participants how to use a drop spindle in a class setting so they could experience the process and challenges for making yarn the old-fashioned way.”

Henderson brought her own spinning wheel to the class to use as part of the demonstration. While she doesn’t believe it is an antique, it did come from her mother-in-law’s home where it was part of the décor. The spinning wheel was stored in the attic but when a friend came to Henderson’s house, they decided to see if it was still in working condition. Surprisingly to both of them, it did and a new hobby was launched.

RoJean Mustain, who attended Henderson’s class, said she was inspired to attend by recently visiting a living history museum.

“I saw a spinning demonstration and it caught my attention. I enjoy crafts of all kinds and wanted to give spinning a try,” Mustain said.

Each participant who attended the class took home a drop spindle and some yarn to continue the process on their own.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com