Still a beautifully figurative way to convey the telling of a tale. Too bad I don’t hear it used much. This could have German roots : Seemannsgarn spinnen, to spin a sailor’s twine was tedious, mundane work and certainly lent itself to storytelling. The word yarn alone stands in for a long story. According to Wikipedia, in Australia, and particularly among Aborigines, it has become a verb, to talk: Yarnin.
*Rufus F. Zogbaum (1849-1925), oil on canvas, depicted from a photograph taken aboard the U.S.S. Mohican in 1888.