Renewing Focus

I have been fairly inactive with a lot of my fiber arts and living history work over the past couple of years due to health, work, and life in general.  But, I am working on renewing my focus over the next year.

Spinner_Psalter of Fecamp_late 12thC
Psalter of Fecamp, Late 12thC

One of the areas I am looking to focus on is my spinning, in particular, the spinning technique I use with a hand spindle.  I learned using the more traditional drop spinning using the two-hand drafting technique with a more modern drop spindle.  However, doing research, I noticed that this didn’t appear to be the kind of spindle used in the middle ages nor the type of technique used.  I recently purchased a new spindle with a small stone whorl and have started playing with that and realized that this type of spindle requires a different technique.  It puts a higher spin than my normal all-wood spindles and it spins for a shorter period of time.

Nun spinning with cat_The Maastricht Hours_early 14thC
The Maastricht Hours, early 14th century

Chatting with a friend who recently went to the Medieval Dress and Textiles Society conference in April: ‘Wool: Cloth, Clothing & Culture’, one of the papers presented was about the difference in these spinning techniques and had demonstrations. Which pretty much fit in with my observations playing with this type of spindle.  I joined the Facebook group, ‘Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning’ and have already learned a lot about these techniques and have an area of some new focus.

First off, I need a distaff.  I’ve been wanting one for a while but haven’t set myself up with one.  Which is a bit silly, since it is just a stick.  Then I want to start practicing in-hand and suspended with distaff drafting.  This technique looks much more like the spinning images you see from the middle ages.

Spinners

Spinner_Hunterian Psalter_12thC
Hunterian Psalter, 12thC

In addition to learning some new spinning techniques, I need to focus on some new gowns as I have unfortunately outgrown most of my current ones (or at least my current working gowns).  That way I can be properly dressed for events.

After that, I want to work on getting a set up I can take to events that give me a “home” and a decent working space to set up that looks decent and replacing more modern items with things that fit more in with a medieval or early modern set up.  This will be a work in progress for a while I imagine.

So, I feel I am getting back focused on a few things which makes me feel good and hopefully I’ll be more active on this site and share pictures of progress, etc.

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