Monday, January 07, 2013

St. Distaff's Day

...or Another Excuse to Spend A Day Spinning.

Back when spinning was a "real job", St. Distaff day was the traditional day that spinners went back to work, the day after Twelfth Night. Naturally, they were thrilled to be back at their spinning wheel, and made excuses to celebrate.  There is no St. Distaff, but in those days, every holiday was in honour of one saint or another, so the spinners (clever girls that they were) made a new saint to celebrate. And we celebrate to this day.

(For you non-spinny types, a distaff is a spinning tool. It is a rod or board used to hold unspun fibre, especially flax, and keep it organized and tidy for the spinner to draft from. The actual patron saint of spinners is St. Serafina, who also happens to be the patron saint of the suffering and deformed. St. Catherine is also a patron saint to those who craft with wheels, such as spinners and potters. They have their own feast days, but not today!)

My celebration will consist of a day of plying. To be honest, I have not taken the Twelve Days of Christmas off from spinning. I have, in fact, done pretty much the opposite. I have done little else. Oh, a little cooking here and there, and ridiculous amounts of bread have been baked, but mostly, spinning.  I am running out of empty bobbins, though, so plying is becoming a must.  I have this...

 ...about 300g of Wensleydale top, handpainted by Spunky Eclectic in the November Spunky Club colour way "Not So Seaworthy" (inspired by a photo of a shipwreck, presumably a flaming shipwreck). Three singles with random colour placement for a 3-ply sock yarn.

And this...

...the rest of the NZ Crossbred roving, also from Spunky Eclectic, that I had spun before Christmas. Once this is plied, I should have enough for a vest.

St. Distaff will be well celebrated around here!

And what is a celebration without a feast?  January 7 also happens to be Ukrainian Christmas, which, being of Ukrainian descent, I observe with a massive feed of the family's favourite Ukrainian foods. There are holopchi (cabbage rolls)...

...and a massive number of hand-made peroghies...

Along with a big pot of borscht, some poppy seed roll, and a roast, this will be an epic feast.

I will admit that we are a day late this year with this feast. Tradition dictates that the Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve on the Gregorian calendar, but family scheduling made tonight a better night to do this. And it works out just right for me. I have to hang around the house as all of the food that I prepared over the weekend slowly cooks to perfection in the oven. I have plying to do. And it's St. Distaff day, a day to celebrate spinning.

So whatever this day brings, remember to take a moment to make a little string in honour of a non-existent saint and celebrate the magic of what it is that we do when we take a fistful of fluff and turn it into something wonderful to knit or weave with. And if you don't know how to spin, hug someone who does--and maybe they'll offer you a lesson or two! And if you don't have a spinner around to hug, celebrate anyway.

Because life is good.

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