Spinning Experiment- We Need You!

Tell a bunch of spinners that the output of a medieval spinner could be no more than 20 metres per hour, and they’ll want to prove you wrong. As such, the folks over at the Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning are conducting a spinning experiment, looking at the production rates of modern spinners. The experiment collects a wide range of date, from spinning method, years of experience to fibre spun, tools used and more. Collecting all of this data means that we can use the results for different things. For example, we could compare grasped spinning production rates to that with suspended spinning, or we could look at how years of experience affects production.

I encourage you all to take part, here is the form you need to complete and you can take part multiple times.

When you are filling out the form, pay attention when it asks you to enter in the amount spun- just do that! There’s a slot for time spun also so your production rate per hour can be calculated. Don’t be clever and work out the average you spun in an hour, otherwise you’ll confuse the results:

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Oops!

At least it gave me a laugh! The preliminary results (without my mistake) are up on the facebook group so if you’re not a member, join to check them out. But we need more responses, so please take part!

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Video Wednesday- NiddyNoddy’s Medieval Spindle Stick a Spiral Notch.

This week I bring you the next review of my five new NiddyNoddy Spindles. This spindle handled both my fine and coarser wool very well. The deep spiral notch meant there is no need for a half hitch and it works very well for suspended or semi-suspended techniques as well as grasped spinning.

The packaging that I was spinning is Lleyn, which is a welsh meat breed. Neil from Niddy Noddy mentioned that a lot of wool of this quality is buried or burned due to the nature of the wool industry in the UK which is a shame as it is a good usable wool.

This spindle weighs 10g which is lighter than the first spindle I reviewed, and while it went ok with my lightweight 6g whorl I preferred it with my 20g whorl.

You can find Niddy Noddy on facebook: www.facebook.com/niddynoddyuk and etsy www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NiddyNoddyUK

You can read more about other tools for spinning and other brands of spindles here

 

Sharing Saturday- Jane’s Distaff

Today I thought I’d share how Jane dresses her distaff after she kindly posted step-by-step photos on the Historic Spinning facebook group. Many thanks to Jane Hunt for allowing me to share!
I hand comb the fibres with my mini combs.

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Then I draw off the fibres by hand, not having a clamp means I can’t use a diz, but maybe one day.

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Next I plank the sliver, a fancy term for breaking it into suitable lengths for my distaff.

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Then I spread out each length into a thin layer about 10″ wide.

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I pile up the layers, one on top of the other, to form a batt.

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Then I lay my distaff along the long edge (the same direction that the fibres are going in) As you can see, this is my deluxe ‘from the hedgerow’ distaff!

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I then roll the distaff up in the batt fairly snugly.

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Finally I criss cross my linen tape down the distaff and tie in a bow at the bottom. I tie it tight enough for there to be some resistance to pull against, but not so tight I can’t draught the fibres comfortably. Hope this helps!

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How do you dress your distaff? Please do share your methods, and let me know if you’d like me to post your method on my blog for another Sharing Saturday.

You can read about some other distaff dressing methods here.

Video Wednesday- NiddyNoddy’s Medieval Spindle Stick Without a Notch.

This week I bring you the first review of my five new NiddyNoddy Spindles. This was the spindle I tried first but turned out to be my last favourite spindle (of the ones I bought from NiddyNoddy, it is far from being my least favourite spindle I own!). That said, it is still beautifully made and works well. I struggled on it with my 20 micron merino but did better spinning a bit thicker with the coarser wool that came as the packaging. A spindle choice is a very personal thing, and influenced by the spinner, their technique as well as the fibre they’re spinning and the end product they’re creating.  I’ve only spun a short time on this spindle, I’d like to sit down and do a spindle full of fibre then review it at that point also, but that would be some time away, so keep in mind these are my first thoughts with an empty- or almost empty spindle.

A few additional notes and information that I didn’t have for the video:
The wool in the packaging that I spun is Lleyn which is a welsh meat breed.
This spindle weighs 16 g which is a lot heavier than I am used to.

Video ‘Wednesday’- New Spindles!

How many spindles does a medieval lady need?

Answer, five more than she has!

Yes, I ordered a few (ok five) spindles from Niddy Noddy

When I first started spinning I couldn’t find many places selling medieval style spindles or spindle shafts, now I can find a lot. I think there is a lot more opportunity for small sellers to set up shop online these days. Maybe there are more people interested in spinning with appropriate tools at re-enactment events too? Whatever the reason, there are spindles out there that I don’t have and I thought I should change that.

I have a few other spindles on my wish list, but if you see anything you think I should buy… enable me!

One thing I find with my current spindles is that I buy the spindles and whorls separately (though both sellers sell whorls to match their spindles) and many of my whorls don’t fit my spindles as low as I would like.  Nothing wrong with the spindles, they are fantastic, but I do love my whorls too. So I talked to Neil first about my needs and he came up with a few ideas.

I bought two medieval spindle sticks (one with a spiral notch, one without), two medieval style spindle sticks which Neil shaped to my specifications (one with a spiral notch, one without) and a Dealgan just because I wanted to.

I’ve done a series of videos covering each spindle, but the below is just me chatting about the spindles I got and talking about what I got and why and how they fit my whorls.

I tried to upload this yesterday, but the internet was too slow, so I had to finish uploading it today, hence why video ‘Wednesday’ is on Thursday.

Abbey Medieval Festival- Sunday

Things started slow on Sunday morning. While I got to bed at a reasonable hour some of our group got to bed at 4am! It’s not unusual for people to be getting UP at about 4:30am. And no, it wasn’t just the young ones! Lol.
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I had a little more time on Sunday as we didn’t have the tournament and I was feeling a little better.

I managed to visit the 14th century encampment where I took a few videos.
Here is my friend tablet weaving:

The other videos I’m yet to edit, but I took some in the fantastic Historia encampment where they had a lot of artefacts on display. You can see some snippets of these videos in my highlights video here:

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I also had time to watch (and video) my group running the Tournament of Strength and Skill, which I’m still editing the individual videos for but you can see the overview here.

Once again I had my fingerloop and spinning demos.

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I was also really happy to see my first ever medieval dress worn again. This dress is about 13 years old and still has a lot of life left in it:

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Actually, a few of my dresses were worn by people other than me. The tally over the weekend also included:

My green and gold silk cioppa (you may have spotted it on my friend in the first photo of this post.
My gold silk sleeves
My green sleeves
My jaffa dress (orange gironea)
and
My pink wool kirtle

I have a friend who has borrowed my brown giornea for the past few events but she had a new kirtle of her own for this event

I was really planning on doing some videos of me spinning, but unfortunately I was too sick on Thursday and Friday (also it was raining on Friday) to get them done. At my demo on Sunday I did manage to give and film an impromptu spinning lesson.

Now things are finally settling down from Abbey. Taking the shop is a lot of work. I had the event itself off from helping on the shop, but am still involved of course in the pre and post work which is significant.  But I hope really truly to do some more videos soon. My husband bought me a bunch of spindles from a new (to me) shop so I hope to do a video review of each of them.

Abbey Medieval Festival Wrap-up

I know it’s been over a month, but I have finally gotten around to blogging about Abbey Medieval Festival 2017. Sadly a few days before I came down sick so my experience and participation was somewhat diminished this year. That, and the rain on Friday resulted in my not being able to do my planned videos, but I hope to take some more soon.
This year we packed the truck on Wednesday (thanks to my fantastic friend Amy who not only came over to help pack but also cleaned my kitchen for me because I felt too sick for packing or cleaning!) and drove up on the Thursday and started setting up. Fortunately we got all our tents set up on Thursday, because Friday was raining.

I was feeling pretty sick on Friday but still managed to ‘make an appearance’ for my friend’s knighting ceremony by throwing my gown over my modern clothes… then went to bed pretty early.

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Saturday

 

Saturday was a busy day. First we had parade, then we hung out at the castle as we only had a short break between parade and our show. (well, everyone else hung out while I ran back to get my camera). I did manage to film our show

 

Then it was back to the encampment for lunch, then to go straight into the fingerloop demonstration and my spinning demonstration was the last of the day.

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(please excuse the crappy veil in the photo, my coif which I spent a long time ironing fell out of my suitcase when I was packing and it was too hot for me to tolerate my red wool hood)

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Saturday afternoon a friend from a neighbouring group was knighted. This year my group decided not to have a feast on Saturday night, so the other groups around us brought the feast to us!

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Of course, Saturday night is the night for shenanigans. First of all us ladies held the court of love, which is where we typically talk about all the horrible things the menfolk have done and come up with a punishment for them. Horrible things can include stepping on a lady’s dress, accidently swearing in front of a crowd or losing their hat (one year every time we found a hat or hood not on a head or put away us ladies picked it up and stowed it in a safe place then presented this as evidence for their carelessness. We were accused of ‘stealing’ their hats, lol!). Punishments vary but my favourite was when we asked them to perform swan lake for us. They gave us a dance from the Nutcracker with the music provided by themselves singing ‘da da da da da but I was so impressed they knew some ballet.

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In this year’s court of love we decided that we couldn’t fault our men, and came back with praise, and asked they honoured us by giving us a performance of their choosing. Unfortunately for us, the court of chivalry had something to say about us ladies, which you can see in this video…

Following this the boys gave us a presentation of the movie ‘The Terminator’ and as our punishment we ladies were asked to give a presentation of the ‘The Termanitor 2’. Unfortunately none of us ladies new the plot so we improvised. We had one lady play the fire (by waving candles around), one lady play The Termanator (complete with terrible accent performed with gusto), me playing John Connor, another lady playing Sarah Connor and finally two ladies playing a pot and one lady playing a spoon.

The plot went that Sarah was at home cooking and the terminator came home declaring he was ‘soo tired from being at work all day doing noooothing’ that she had to drop what she was doing right away and get him some water. Unfortunately while he attended to his needs the spoon caught fire and burnt and he was angry. The next day the same thing happened, but Sarah remembering the day before did not abandon her cooking, and the terminator died from dehydration.

I really wish I had videoed our performance because I’ve never laughed so hard, but I was busy playing John Connor (who was too busy playing video games to help the terminator or Sarah)

After this we played some games and enjoyed some recitations and generally had a really good time.

The court of love and chivalry are all in good fun and do kick the evening off and encourage people to get up and contribute to the enjoyment of the evening.

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And because this is a long post already, I’ll do Sunday in a separate post…

15th Century Spinning Will be at Abbey Medieval Festival 2017

Once again I’ll be at Abbey, so if you’re in QLD, Australia, come and visit on the 8th and 9th of July! The official program isn’t out yet but I should be on at 3:45pm each day. I’ll also be doing fingerloop braiding around 1:15pm each day.

 

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Once the official program is out I’ll link it and show you on the map where I’ll be.

I really hope to be able to get some more vidos of me spinning at the event, with any luck I will actually have some time on Friday after we’re set up and I also hope to get some during the event. I’ve had a request to do one on different types of grasped spinning and I’ll try to get a friend to video my shows, but if there’s anything else you’d like me to do a video on, please ask.

Video Wednesday- Busy Not Spinning

I’ve been pretty busy these past few weeks.

First I got married.

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Then this past weekend I attended History Alive, a multi-period re-enactment event that sadly got mudded out on the Sunday due to excessive rain on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The rain eased early but the mud was there to stay and the mud made the entrance to the grounds and the car parks unsafe.

I did manage to enjoy myself on the Saturday though, and had the best time I’ve ever actually had at this event. The morning I spent helping with our shop, Make Your Own Medieval. The afternoon I spent visiting some other re-enactment groups and talking to them about their crafts and activities.

I visited my friend Rosalie from Rosalie’s Medieval women and saw her display of artifacts.

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The ladies of my re-enactment group had a go at fabric stamping at the encampment of Karvan-saray and now have plans for fabric stamped wall hangings.

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I took a short video of the fabric stamping.

My friend and I then decided to attend a shoe making workshop, but took a wrong turn and as we walked past a display of coloured wool we stopped to ask if it was naturally dyed. Well, it was and the group spent almost half an hour talking to us about their crafts- it was like a private show.

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I took some video of this as well.

My friend is also interested in researching 15th century dyes and doing some dyeing of our own, so I’ll see if we can get something happening at our reenactment group’s den after the reenactment season.

After this we watched a woodworking display, which I videoed but haven’t yet put up (I might not, there were a lot of people in front of me so the video might not have come out too good and an inkle weaving workshop done on modern inkle looms. The looms were for sale and I was very tempted, as I was last time, but I don’t think I have room or time for another modern loom. I’d rather a box loom I can use at home and take to events.

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I planned on spending Sunday doing some spinning videos but due to the cancelation I had to pack down the stall in four inches of mud instead.

My schedule is pretty jam-packed for the next few weeks, but I hope I might be able to get some video at Abbey Medieval Festival in July- we’ll see, I’ve got a couple of shows planned each day and things can get pretty crazy at Abbey.