Cynthia asked on the facebook group Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning how to use a distaff in a belt. I was heading to AROW, a relaxed re-enactors’ only weekend held by the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology ahead of the main Living history season and their Abbey Medieval Festival, so I thought it would be easier to do a quick video. Because there is no public here it meant I could set up my camera to take the video.
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.
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.
Today I thought I’d share a video of me spinning with a Hershey Fiber Arts Spindle
I love these spindles, they have really nice fine tips and she can do them with a spiral notch. She does quite a few other types of spindles and other fibre equipment, such as whorls and distaffs, so make sure to have a look at the rest of her goodies.
Today I share a new (to me) video of spinning. Some lovley distaff spinning here, close-ups of distaffs (eastern European kind) and a shot of winding a plying ball! Just over eight minutes so lots to see, enjoy!
I know I’ve been promising it for ages, but I finally got some time to do a video update on my spinning. This video has sound so you can listen to me ramble on about spinning. 🙂
Grasped spinning is slow, therefore it would never have been used when production spinning was needed, such as in the middle ages.
If grasped spinning is slow or not is objective. People learned how to spin grasped from a very young age, they would have found it faster than a modern person who has spun using a different style for, say, ten years, pick up grasped spinning, try it once and find it slow.
Many people say Continental knitting is faster than English, however some of the world’s fastest knitters knit English style and English style knitting has been used for many years. All my cardigans as a small child were knit English style and my mother had to knitt them or I went cold. If only the fastest method was used in situations where people had to produce or go cold then why did my mother not use Continental or my Nana’s knitting machine?
If speed was the only factor, why was the wheel not embraced more readily? The wheel was considered to produce thread of poorer quality and it was hundreds of years after it’s introduction before it really gained hold.