I have news for you (expletive omitted). For thousands of years women had been spinning, if only with a whorl spindle, and they had to carefully wind the yarn into a ball, to keep it from getting tangled. The Theseus-Ariadne myth is very old. I have no idea when it first saw print, nor any idea when it was first translated into English. NicholasW gave a couple words that were in the ballpark, but did not mean balls of thread. But the first translation had to be from a Greek or Roman word that was for no reason I can think of changed to a Germanic root. Incidentally twine means two threads twisted together for increased strength.