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.
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!
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…
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 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!