Picture by Carl Larsson
"She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands."
Does this literally mean that a virtuous wife must spin her own wool and weave her own cloth? Well, in this day and age, I'd say not, unless of course she happens to love doing those things and is able to do so in a timely and economic fashion. The real point of this verse, as I understand it, is three-fold.
1. The virtuous wife is purposeful, especially with finances. She knows what she needs and how to get it. She thoughtfully purchases quality goods and materials, not junk. She purchase what she needs, for herself and for her household. She is not wasteful or capricious. She is also not lax. She doesn't put off her purchases or neglect the important task of clothing her household well. She does her duty and does it with skill.
2. The virtuous wife is capable and skilled in domestic arts and sciences. One isn't born with an innate knowledge of where and how to purchase goods for spinning or how to make those goods into yarn and that yarn into cloth. Back in the time of Solomon, spinning and weaving were necessary skills for running a successful household. Today, the skills might look different, but a woman endeavouring to be a worthy wife would be wise to put her time and efforts into obtraining knowledge and skill with regard to her household.
3. The virtuous wife is domestically-minded. If you notice, our Ideal Wife is currently branching outside her domestic realm a bit. She has now entered the marketplace--but notice what she does there. She buys wool and flax so that she can make cloth to clothe her household. She doesn't waste her time or her money or go hogwild as soon as she leaves the confines of her home. Even if she's not physically at home, that's where her heart is--and it's where she continues to invest her time and resources.
We may not know how to weave and spin, but any wife can be a wise and purposeful consumer, a skilled and knowledgeable homemaker, and a domestically-minded wife. All it takes is the desire, a conserted and sustained effort, and a willing heart and mind.