Today I share an old film showing Norwegian crafts. There is weaving, spinning, and other historic crafts you don’t often see in films such as fingerloop braiding and naalbinding.
Of interest is the spinnin technique uses a hook in place of a distaff. It also shows the plying technique which Norman Kennedy speaks about, where the yarn is run through a hook in the ceiling.
Today I share a picture from Milan (not sure of the date).
Here we see a six shaft loom, winding multiple threads at a time onto a warping board and squished to the right is a spinning wheel.
I love the corrections in the writing underneath the minature!
A common sight in medieval manuscripts is ladies standing while spinning, like this lady spinning wool amongst the sheep.
Also common, is the lady taking a break to spin, like this lady spinning wool amongst the sheep.
Which sometimes raises the question “How do I use a distaff while sitting?”
Well, there are many answers and the right answer is what works for you.
This lady has a beautiful standing distaff.
Grabow Altarpiece, Bertram von Minden, c 1379-1383
Sometimes the lady clasps the distaff between her knees
1380, Mary spinning
I would love a standing distiff, but I don’t have one yet. People have asked how I sit with my distaff and as it’s hard to explain I decided to do a video.
This is simply how I sit with my distaff, what works for you may be different. Please feel free to share what works for you in the comments!
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:
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!
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.
I thought I’d share a video I compiled of me spinning in slow motion.
In this video you can see me starting a leader, spinning, drafting and winding on in slow motion.
I’ve been looking into different video editors. I’ve downloaded lightworks and spent about 15 minutes playing with it, so I am not very practiced with it at all, but I can do some things I couldn’t do in my old editing program so I think I will try it for a few videos and see how I go.
This is a short clip I put together from some of my old slow motion videos. Here you see me spinning 15th century style and a medieval living history event with a spindle and distaff from three different angles.
I also managed to put music to this one so turn up your speakers.
I will also mention slow motion isn’t very flattering to one’s face…
I would love to be at the QLHF (Queensland Living History Federation) Conference this weekend doing a talk on spinning, but I’m not. I’m getting married instead! I thought I had planned my wedding on a weekend that no one would organise a reenactment event, but I was wrong, lol.
So while I am of vowing to love the love of my life for the rest of my life, I thought I’d share a video of my presentation at last years conference. It’s not the best, and you’ll probably need to plug in your headphones because the sound is bad, but it will have to do until next year unless you catch me at a re-enactment event!
Drop spindle spinning is the name we give to a type of suspended spinning that is very popular amongst modern crafters. We give it this name to differentiate it from other types of spinning. There are other ways to spin suspended. I don’t always spin suspended but when I do it’s different to the drop spindle spinning you might be familiar with. In this video I talk briefly about the difference.
I get asked a lot to do a video of how I dress my distaff with wool. I haven’t, because there are already great blog posts and videos out there, and I just ‘put my wool on’. I haven’t really researched much about distaff dressing.
But people still ask so at AROW I took the chance to do a quick video of how I dress my distaff.
If you’d like to read a great blog post on dressing a distaff I recommend you read Ode to a Distaff.