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Saturday, January 5, 2013

"Distaff' Day"

My Louet spinning wheel, built from their
kit and dedicated to Frigga. Painted with
"heart-tulips" sending out growing faith
and love and I spin and surrounded with
scalloped border for smooth sailing
through life.

Traditionally, the day that women resumed their work after the holidays. I know it was traditional for women to put down their spinning and other work for a period during the holiday. I know I have read accounts of such traditions, but for the life of my cannot find the right search terms to provide a link at the moment. Very frustrating...

However, a fiber group to which I sort of belong (it's a loose group of women who gather in the farming museum at the land grant college here, on Wednesdays and the first Saturday) mentioned "St Distaff's day" in their weekly email this week and that I was able to research a bit. There was no saint, and it is not really a holiday, but a nod to the tradition of putting aside work for a tide; the work was again resumed, the day after Epiphany, and was called after the tool most often associated with women since Biblical times, if not earlier: the distaff.

This wheel, as a kit to finish and assemble, was a gift from my wonderful K earlier in the year. I did not know that he had arranged to secure it for me at the time when I was whining on the internet about not being able to find one that (a) I could afford and (b) that had all it parts so that it would work. My whining was responded to by an online fiber friend and spiritual sister, who, as part of her preparation to move, offered me an old Indian Head spinner... initially offering to post the head, but then arranging the 'great spinning wheel railroad' of co-coreligionists and fiber folk to carry the entire wheel literally from coast to coast!

Shortly after the Indian Head wheel arrived, K presented me with the box containing the wheel, above. I knew immediately I wanted to dedicate this wheel to Frigga, and to decorate it with a hex sign. I also knew that the summer gardening season was NOT the season to try to carve out time to work on this project, though I did put the hex design on the back burner, to simmer, as I worked on other projects.

The "heart tulip" design is one I originated many years ago. I used it first as a motif on hand stamped Christmas cards, symbolizing growing love. What better design for All-Mother Frigga than this, surrounded with a scalloped border for "smooth sailing through life!

I painted the wheel by bits, thought the fall, as I worked on other signs and after the growing season was done and we approached and entered the Winter season, I began sanding and applying the urethane finish to the wooden parts. Last evening, beside the small altar on my butcher block in my kitchen, before the candle that was lit to honor Frigga on the eve of her day, I assembled the wheel.

Honey Bunny
Today, I shall begin spinning, first with some of the 'three bags full" of wool I have been hand carding, and then, later, with the brushings from our Angora bunnies, Rufus, HoneyBunny, Cotton and Cloud.
Cloud, sitting on K for his grooming.
But first we need to get a path cleared to bring the propane tank around the house so we can carry ti to be filled, and I need to package up two hex signs (and writing this reminds me that I have yet to photograph them!) to take to the post office... which I see will NOT happen today, as it's nearly 11 and that's when they close. Ah, well... Monday then. At least that is a short work-in-town day! The work flow is what it is, as folks say today. I'll go with "don't push the river..."