Sometimes we need to increase our knowledge and do a little research before we can properly answer a question or make a prediction.
1. The dictionary will define most words for us.
"Spinning is the process of creating yarn (or thread, rope, cable) from various raw fiber materials."
2. Then a search on Myths would explain how "spinning" is featured in Greek Mythology.
3. And finally, delving into fairy tales leaves us with many examples of folktales that feature "spinning".
A miller's daughter is asked to spin straw into gold for the king or else she dies. Rumpelstilskin helps her out of her dilemma, in exchange for her first-born child. (http://www.allfiberarts.com/cs/fairytales.htm)
4. Analyze the results of your search. Which path will you take?
Do more research on CLOTHO in Greek mythology and then pose a hypothesis on what the great-great-grandmother, Irene, is spinning.
Don't know what a hypothesis is? Follow my advice above on expanding your understanding, starting with the dictionary, followed by research.
Spinning is indeed a common theme in ancient myths. Perhaps people have a supernatural fascination with spiders? For whatever the reason, we appreciate the depth and complexity present in the webs and appropriate it for myth.
Clotho in greek mythology isknown for spinning threads of life. Also known as the youngest of the 'three fates' (spin, measure, and cut) the first fate (spin) was named Clotho. Clotho spun these threads using a distaff (a tool used to hold unspun fibers). After these threads were spun the second sister would measure the length of the thread (the length of ones life time) and the third sister would cut the string which marked that persons death.
With this knowledge one might draw the conclusion that just like Clotho Ireane's great grandmother may in fact be spining threads of life. perhaps for herself or for the goblins (as trixiepuff stated i believe that she may be the queen of the goblins).
Expanding on my previous post, it's complicated to explain what exactly I mean about spinning names.
How Irene says "I have a great many such things" it gets you wondering. She could have meant that she has a good many names. And she could be spinning all those names so that she owns them perhaps.
Great-great-grandmother said she was a princess. She said she was over 100 years-old. Perhaps she is the princess of the goblins, and she's spinning all the names of the goblins she owns?
Spin'ning Wheel' - n. household device for spinning yarn or thread, having a spindle driven by a wheel spun usually by a treadle.
The Oxford Desk Dictionary; 1995 version; Pg. 556
A king and queen wished to have a child. Alas their wish was granted and a princess was born. The king and queen had a party and invited everyone. One fairy was left out, the wicked fairy. She crashed the party and casted a spell on the princess.
"When the little princess is sixteen, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel - AND SHE WILL DIE"
Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty; Grolier Book Club Edition; 1974
In Greek mythology, Clotho or Klotho, the Greek word Κλωθώ for "spinner", was the youngest of the Moirae (the Fates). It was Clotho who spun the threads of life with her distaff. According to Hesiod's Theogony, she and her sisters (Lachesis and Atropos) are the daughters of Night (by no one).
My hypothesis on what the great-great-grandmother Irene was spinning, is that she was spinning fate.
'Oh, not so very kind!' said the old lady. 'A name is one of those things one can give away and keep all the same. I have a good many such things. Wouldn't you like to know who I am, child?'
The Princess and the Goblin
She might also be spinning names.