Medieval Suspended Spinning using Distaffs

Master spinner demonstrates how to dress a medieval-style cone distaff with flax (linen)

Dressing a cone-shaped distaff with flax

While at Avacal September Crown (a SCA event) I took a class on using a distaff for suspended spinning. I didn’t quite get the idea behind suspended spinning (it kind of made my hand hurt pretty quickly) but I did enjoy using the distaff to control the fibre for spinning.

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Spinning New Zealand Shetland fleece

If you follow me on Instagram (pssst – follow me!) you might have seen that during December I was able to borrow a spinning wheel from a friend and begin spinning some different wools that I bought at the going-out-of-business sale at Shuttleworks.

Since not everyone who reads my blog follows me on Instagram, I thought I’d show off a few of the photos here. 🙂

This wool is all New Zealand Shetland fleece, a natural, undyed off-white colour.

I decided to spin LOTS while I had use of the wheel, so I haven’t actually MADE anything else out of this yarn since spinning and washing (setting) it. It will eventually likely be used for naalbinding, unless I can fall in love again with knitting perhaps….

Soapstone spindle whorl

Hand-spun wool on my hand-made spindle

Hand-spun wool on my hand-made spindle

For one of my Kingdom Arts & Science entries, I wanted to do some Naalbinding… using hand-spun yarn. I only learned how to spin with a drop spindle (I haven’t yet learned how to use a spinning wheel, since I don’t have one, and a drop spindle is a lot more portable!) this past summer, but already really enjoy it – even though it takes AGES!

I decided that for the entry I wanted to spin my own yarn… and set myself a “stretch goal” of also carving my own drop spindle whorl from soapstone as well.

I’m thrilled… that I was able to do it!

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