Tuesday, January 15, 2013

curious customs

January mornings have been mostly gray, with little bits of sunshine. The big oak looks like an etching or a pen & ink drawing in the sky. The buds on the branches of the big oak are waiting. Spring will come. All in good time, I tell myself. Besides, I've yet to place my seed order ...there is a forecast for an icy mix. And I've been spinning flax to linen.

When the sun shines in through my kitchen window, I reach for my sitting distaff. I spin on the spindle. I wrote an article for the Spinning Wheel Sleuth about my Guzaly..and it was published in the recent issue.

The spindle (that came with the distaff) has two whorls. I keep both of the whorls on when I begin spinning. The extra weight is helpful. As I fill the spindle, and the weight is no longer needed, I take one of the whorls off. Look at these beautiful lines, left by the maker.

I have been reading about different folklore customs..... tales that have to do with spindles and spinning. Some of the lore is interesting. ...and sets me thinking about the origins...the where and how and why these customs, traditions and stories started out...

...for instance..one of the customs involves putting a spindle in the cradle of an unborn child for which a girl is desired. If a boy is wished for, onions would take the place of a spindle. hum. why onions?

I wonder.

I also read about a ceremony that would take place for a new home. The new owners would throw a ball of yarn through the doorway and into the house. Then, the oldest member of the household would cross the threshold, holding onto the "guiding thread". This would insure good fortune and happiness in the new dwelling.

Some of the customs involve tying herbs and bells upon your distaff. So ...of course...I saw fit to play along.


Judy said...

If you are not liking the weather don't look at next Tueday's forecast...yikes! Stay inside and spin! What's the plan for the linen?

Stasia said...

Just stopping by to say hello and to wish you well! :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can just imagine the yarn flying over the distaff making the bell ring and the sage smell wonderful. Happy Day.

Valerie said...

These are the things that January is made for....nice, quiet, contemplative spinning (knitting & weaving too!)
At weaving guild last week, the presenter read a segment from Jane Evans' book A Joy Forever, Latvian Weaving about the history of weaving in Latvia. Amazing how the old traditions were kept until WWII.

Lovely post, cyndy.

thecrazysheeplady said...


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