Tagged: distaff

Beautiful spinning wheels

I went to our local museum to take pics of two old wooden chests for an article, and found this:

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s from the beginning of the 20th century, made by an unknown, very skilled carpenter.

The distaff doesn’t belong to the wheel, but there may well have been one like that at one time. The flat, slightly curved distaffs where more common here, but distaffs formed like a thick staff or baton were also used. You can se some of the flat distaffs in the background:

The museum is closed in winter. It was indeed very cold inside, much warmer outdoors! The windows are covered so the sun won’t harm the textiles, but where temporarily uncovered so I could take pics.

There was also another wheel that was added to the museum’s collection recently. It was made for Beata Mårtensdotter Grind in 1889. This was a more common type of wheel in my municipality, where most spinning wheels were painted blue.

Three new lazy kates have also found their way into this amazing museum.

If you wonder whether I remembered to take photos of the wooden chests I can assure you: yes I did! But  I was close to forgetting why I had gone to the museum in the first place.

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Spreadsheet and distaffs

Don’t worry, I’m here! I have been dyeing wool, and I’m not finished yet. I’ll show you later.

Today I want to show a spreadsheet from the 19th century. It was used for keeping count of the work that was done by day workers on a farm here in my municipality.

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The odd looking pieces of wood on the table and the wall are bidding sticks, older times telephones. When something alarming or urgent happened in a village, the stick was hastily passed from house to house together with the message. These are small local sticks. The object hanging above them is a book support. The book in this case would’ve been a Bible.

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To the left the worker’s mark, then the amount of days done. I don’t know what the different signs indicate.

The objects are from this summer’s exhibition at our museum Myrbergsgården. The textiles show examples of a kind of lace that was common in many parts of Finland. I don’t know the English term for it. If someone knows, please let me know! There are also a few beautifully worked distaffs.

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Talking about marks on wood: our dog Kasper is a carpenter. He slowly makes a piece of wood disappear. A couple of days ago he took a spindle from my box of class spindles and carefully put it on top of his latest work. I wonder what he thinking?

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Distaffs, lazy kates, and yarn winders

Today I show more spinning tools from the Ostrobothnian Museum in Vaasa.

First some distaffs. Flax was grown in Finland until the beginning of the 20th century, and linen was used in clothing and as bedlinen until imported cotton became common. The museum showed three types of distaffs: the flat type with carved figures, the flat type with openwork carving or flower painting, and the oblong square or rounded type. Skilfully made distaffs were gifts from young men to their fiancés.

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Men could also show their skills in the lazy kates (I’m very fond of the distaff with the portraits, presumably of the young lady and her admirer):

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Yarn winders (reels) with a clockwork or counting train needed more skills. They were often made by professionals.

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The items displayed here are among the best and most skilfully made. Not all where this elaborately performed.

The wood working tools didn’t know anything about electricity… the museum had made a works space right in connection with the beautiful spinning tools, and some awesome clocks that I can’t show now.

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That saw bench looks pretty much like my father’s. He build our house, did all the wood work and much of the other works needed. I remember him standing by the saw bench, doing mysterious things with his tools. I spent much time with him there in the cellar, where he had his work space. My brother has his work space there now for his stunning leather handcraft, amongst other skilled things.

Dressing a distaff with wool

I love this video that I came across when reading old posts in the Spindle Lore forum on Ravelry. No, I don’t know what the lady says, but I can hear a word I know very well: “rock”. That’s the word for (spinning) “wheel” in Swedish. It originates in a German word meaning “distaff”. The spinner also shows a quite efficient way of preparing wool for spinning without other tools than her hands.

EDIT 26.4.14: so the video is no longer available, or there’s some other trouble.  I’m sorry, it really was a nice video.