YATES CENTER Martha Fitzmaurice lifted a narrow bundle of soft, white wool with her right hand, pulling sections toward her left hand whose nimble fingers grabbed small amounts, adding tiny portions to a thin, twisting thread in a process called drafting. The spinning wheel pulled the new thread through an orifice and wrapped it around a bobbin.
Fitzmaurice, wearing blue socks, alternately pressed the pedals on the floor to treadle the spinning wheel at a comfortable speed. She doesnt like to wear shoes when she spins, she explained.
Fitzmaurice bobbed as each of her limbs moved in a different direction: her feet up and down, her hands back and forth. After more than 26 years of spinning, the movements come automatically. She can even carry on a conversation at the same time.