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.
This week I bring you the last of my reviews of Niddy Noddy’s Medieval Style Spindle Sticks. This one has a spiral notch.
Sorry I’ve been very lax with editing my spindle reviews.
This is my review of the first of the custom designed spindles Niddy Noddy made for me, THis one has no notch.
These spindles were re-shaped to fit my extant whorls below the ‘belly’ of the spindle, often spindle sticks are too thin to use these whorls.
This spindle has no notch, and next week I’ll post the video with a spiral notch.
So the facebook group on distaff spinning is called The Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning. It’s not a religious group at all, but has got its name from the fact that when people try and love spinning with a distaff they want to tell everyone about it. Sometimes people will say “I’m a new convert to distaff spinning!”
Today I would like to share a fabulous post by Josefin Waltin:
Learning New Things – Medieval Style Spinning
She has also posted a great youtube video that includes some slow motion segments.
She has lots of fantastic (non-medieval) spinning videos and some great blog posts on a variety of spinning and not-spinning topics.
Sharing Saturday is where I like to share work by other spinners or living historians. Often I find something I’d like to share, but if you have something you’d like me to share then please let me know If it’s on the internet I’ll like to it, if not I’m happy to post it direct to my blog (with credit).
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!
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
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.
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.