I read a blog post recently saying one of the down sides of re-enacting was being a female reenactor as they weren’t allowed to dress as a male off the battlefield and women were only allowed to do four things in their camp—and spinning wasn’t even one of them!
So I thought I’d start compiling a list of historically accurate tasks, crafts and roles for female personas and make a page for these on my other blog.
So, if you have anything you’d love me to add to the list, leave a comment!
I was working on writing a guest blog post today, and I was talking about a specific spinning video I have seen. I went to re-watch it to reference it, but it has disappeared from you tube. I notice this quite a bit. A lot of videos I have watched and loved have gone. I don’t know why, often they just look like old home videos so I don’t think it can be copyright? Sure I’m finding new videos all the time, but I miss the old ones. I consider the European style spinning with spindle and distaff a dying art so it is sad to see an old video gone.
Today I share a close-up video of how I spin my spindle.
I have heard grasped spinning called many other things, including in-hand, in-the-hand, twiddling, suspended and supported. (yes, some people say it is suspended and others call it supported!) I’ve always called it grasped as I learnt that from Norman Kennedy who uses this technique. I was accused on ravelry of making up the term simply to confuse people, but sadly I can’t claim the term, it’s just what I use. I’ve have seen grasped spinning mentioned in a book from 1930—well before I was born!
Forgive the spinning is a little clumsy in this video, I was trying to move my fingers out of the way for the camera and was leaning at an odd angle to get my hand in view of the camera. Also, that’s not dirt under my nails, it’s cocoa. I was baking in between takes and cleaned my hands but missed my nails. Oops.
I thought I’d start out the month with something a little lighthearted, my first wool skein I spun with medieval technique on a distff and spindle. I was told that grasped spinning wouldn’t put enough twist in my yarn, by someone who had never done it.
This is a full 1.5 metre skein. And below I am making fun of it.
I thought I’d add a new segment to my blog called ‘sharing Saturday’. When I first started researching I didn’t know many people at all who attempted to re-create the European medieval spinning methods with a distaff. Most people were just doing the drop-spindle technique. Now there are a whole bunch of people! So I thought I’d start sharing their work more.
On that note, I’d love to have people do guest blogs, so if you have anything you’d like me to share or have a blog post you’d like to post on my blog, let me know 😀
The first thing I share hasn’t got that much to do with medieval spinning but there is a medieval spinning related story behind it.
There is a thread on Ravelry called ‘Large cop, small spindle’ where people post pictures of their VERY full spindles. I was inspired so began working on my own entry—on my medieval spindle. Well, I was almost there, I had a HUGE cop on one of my spindles. So huge a lady at an event commented on it and I explained to her why I was spinning it. So I had it at the event. I’m not sure when the last time I saw it was but I haven’t unpacked it since coming home from the event, maybe I lost it there? I don’t mind the loss of the spindle but there was a LOT of thread spun on this spindle. I need to properly look through and sort my re-enactment gear, hopefully it is just hiding.
So when I was searching around on pinterest I came across the Spindleful board by Andrea Mielke Schroer and it made me happy to see all the spindles full of thread but also made me think of my old full spindle.
So I spun some modern wool on my spinner and made that nice and full instead, LOL
A short clip of me drafting using a distaff.
Today I share a short clip of me fixing a broken thread while spinning. The key tip is I don’t. I always take my spun thread attached to my spindle back to the distaff and keep spinning.
No, I’m not going anywhere, but I have a new blog! In the past couple of months I’ve been exploring types of spinning other than 15th century spinning. So to read about my spinning on my electric spinning wheel, drop spindle, tahkli and the fun I’ve having with modern dyed fibre blends, head on over to 21st century spinning.
I’d love to spend more time posting over here this year, but we’ll see. I have a busy year ahead. My business grew in leaps and bounds in 2016, and I expect it to grow more this year. I love being able to help my friends out by stocking what they can’t get locally (here is Australia) and we’ve helped gear up some new reenactors who have stayed in the hobby. Also, I have a wedding to plan this year (yes, my own), and not to mention the re-enactment wardrobe I meant to sew this year that’s still waiting for me to sew!
Oh, and of course I still work full time outside the home, which we have more renovations to do along with the acreage to manage!
So in summary 2016 was a great year for me personally but extremely busy, and I expect 2017 to be no different.
Thanks for all the support over the years, it’s wonderful to see so many more people embracing the traditional spinning techniques of Europe and the UK. Keep spinning, keep sharing!
Today I share this fantastif video of Luca Costigliolo spinning with a distaff and a suspended spindle. He explains that as the spindle needs to be continiously turned that the drafting is done with only one hand, the left. This keeps the left hand at the distaff and the right hand at the spindle.
Later he talkes about suspended vs grasped spindles. He mentions that his spindle has a bulb on top for holding the half hitch so it should be used as suspended and that spindles with points like that of a great wheel should be used grasped.
Also of interest is the sling around his neck to hold the distaff, rather than relying on having it in the crock of his arm like I do.
Today I bring you a long video showing many different febre crafts. Of interest (ans perhaps an epposode of mythbusting monday) is the lady using a distaff for wool at the spinning wheel. One Myth I often hear is that they only used distaffs for short fibres in the middle ages to make their spinning portable.
While sometimes this lady uses a second hand to assist drafting, most of the time she uses one just as with the spindle method. Norman Kennedy shows this in one of his videos, and he spinds with both hands making two threads at once. Double the thread from one spinner!