Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Distaffs and whittling

I discovered yesterday that I do remember how to whittle.

I got frustrated with roving that would not stay wrapped round my wrist. I had been doing a little research on historical spinning and knitting (seems the only things knitted during the Revolutionary War period was stockings and a few hats) but spinning was fairly important even if mostly outsourced from overseas.

Anyway, I went outside and found a nice little branch off my birch tree that was hanging in the way of the lawn mower driver and it had a nice little fork in it. I discussed the issue for a second with said tree and he did not seem to mind the trim so long as it was for a good cause and I didn't take too much.

Then I found a little wild cherry that was growing up under my fense. It too was nicely forked and since it clearly would not survive in that site anyway, allowed for a clean harvest of her branches.

I quickly clipped away all the extra branches and leaves and then peeled the bark (I did keep the inner bark of the cherry for cough meds this winter) and sanded both little forked sticks.

Here are my new distaffs and they work very nicely. I've been stripping down the roving into pre-drafted, thin little strips then winding them onto the distaff. I hold the distaff in my left hand and the roving comes down off the top between my thumb and fore finger (the other fingers of the my hand are holding the distaff). I get the spin going with my right hand and can draft quite nicely with both hands and still manage my park and draft method when I need to.

Thank you little trees!

And here is a picture of my weird yarn in process. I'm spinning on a polymer clay spindle I purchased at Gathering of the Tribes over Memorial Day Weekend.

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