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Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials. Several fibers are twisted together to bind them into a strong, long yarn. Characteristics of the yarn vary based on the material used, fiber length and alignment, quantity of fiber used and degree of twist. The earliest spinning probably involved simply twisting the fibers in the hand. Later the use of a stick to help twist the fiber was introduced. Drop spinning involves the use of a stick with a whorl or weight to stabilize the spinning of the stick (called a spindle). The spindle is spun, and hangs supported by the yarn as more fiber is introduced. This introduced fiber picks up the twist and becomes yarn. Later the spinning wheel was developed which allowed a continuous and faster yarn production. Spinning wheels are either foot or hand powered. Modern powered spinning, originally done by water or steam power but now done by electricity, is vastly faster than hand-spinning.

Hobby spinners spin their own yarn in order to control specific yarn qualities and produce yarn not commercially available. They also may spin for self-sufficiency, sense of accomplishment or sense of connection to history and the land. And, of course, for the meditative qualities of spinning.

Materials that can be used to create yarn fall into three broad classes: plant, animal, and synthetic.

Spinning is also a form of exercise by pedaling very fast on a bicycle, especially a stationary training bike. The concept was created in the 1980s by Jonathan Goldberg.

See spin (politics) for the practice of "spinning" a news story for PR value.