New Year New Blog!

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.

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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!

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Video Wednesday – Spinning in Italy

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.

Video Wednesday- How to Spin a Spindle

Today I share a video of Lisa Chan teaching how to spin a russian spindle. This just happens to be the same technique I use for spinning my spndles so I thought I’d share it.

I find practicing to spin supported is a good way of learning how to spin grasped (or semi-suspended or suspended), a bit like training wheels on a bike.

Them old folks, oh they was smart they were.

So I was searching around and I discovered this Video and I went “hey, he’s spinning flax just like I do!”

I did a bit of investigation and I found his one and went “Hey, I want my wool on my distaff to look like this!”

His name is Norman Kennedy and he’s some old codger who’s bloody brilliant.

He grew up in Scotland and started spinning after WWII. He learned from the old people back then and managed to learn a TON of information that didn’t get passed onto the generation above him and then was lost for many people.

Guess how he spins?

And he’s not just a hobby spinner, he’s done real work spinning. Spinning and weaving sheets, towels, blankets and even fine linen shirts. Also knitting clothing from homespun.

He has a video for sale on wool and one on linen and cotton and because I found them for download and on sale I decided to download one. Well, I soon after downloaded the other. There’s a lot of information, he talks about fibre prep and spindles and different types of spinning wheels and a million things besides, but I found it all really informative, even the bits I thought I wouldn’t be interested in (like modern spinning wheels).

So anyway, this old Scottish guy uses a spindle the same way I’ve been using mine. They way I’ve been spending a long time trying to document.

His documentation for this method? I’ll summarise it below.

This is a spindle. Not a drop spindle, I hear folks saying drop spindle and I think ohhh that sounds clumsy, like them old folks was always dropping things. Oh no, they was smart those old folks. And this is how they taught me to spin it, none of these hooks and letting it go, just like this and you see them old folks was smart, they didn’t just hang out, no, always working and if they were going to market or herding sheep then they’d be working at their spinning even then. They got a lot done, all Henry the 8th clothing started out being spun like this and oh that was very fine, I know, I’ve seen some of it! But they wouldn’t drop their spindles like the folk of this country [he now lives in Canada] do.

So yeah. His documentation is “this is how I was taught by the old folk in my day, and they learned from information passed down through the generations.”

He doesn’t need a million pictures and videos because someone taught him.

But he seems a fascinating man and I’m really glad I’ve watched his videos, they taught me more than I thought they would!