January 8, 2017

St. Distaff's Day!

My Love of Spinning Part One!
My antique Christmas spinning wheel, that arrived in a crate a while before Christmas.
It is a joy to spin on!

For me, St. Distaff's Day, January 7th, usually is a joyous occasion, many times celebrated with friends, sometimes we bring a dish to pass!


Some Dundee cake saved for St. Distaff's Day tea.


One year, I took my distaff and hatchel to a pleasant gathering and demonstrated and spun flax that day.
Later, when I went out to my vehicle, alas and alack, I saw that my vehicle had been crashed into.
It wasn't very pleasant, it sort of put a dent in the day!
However, when the police were called and upon asking around the neighborhood, they found a witness who saw the person hit my vehicle and the person had left without confessing. This was a business vehicle that was doing business in the area. Fortunately, he was found out.


I put the flax stricks through different size hatchels a few more times to ensure the best line fiber.


A portion of a letter I wrote to Kristen in January 2005:
"I spin flax and I just love it. To dress the distaff I wet the distaff a little. I hold the distaff over the flax that I have laid out on a table and as I turn the distaff the flax fibers start to cling to it and I just keep winding it on until it is full. I hang a little cup of water on the spinning wheel and I keep moistening my fingers as I draw the fibers down. To me it seems so graceful to spin flax."
I have also made a distaff out of a branch of a tree.


On a delightful Autumnal trip, I acquired this beautiful antique Shaker spinning wheel! She retained the name that she was found with... Ann Lee. As with the Autumnal day on which she was discovered, doesn't she have a nice mellow glow?
My spun fiber can be seen from the orifice of the spinning wheel's flyer, leading up to the unspun fibers of the distaff.

Tasha Tudor and I always had a grand time discussing fibers and spinning.

My daughter Sarah and I descend from generations of spinners and shepherds. My 5th great grandmother was Martha Lyon May, wife of Eliakim May. Sarah and I have inherited a natural ability for turning fiber into thread. "The Lyon Memorial, Massachusetts Families" says: "The Hartford Courant, Jan. 6, 1766, had this item: Miss Levina Lyon, daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Miss Molly Ledoit carded and spun in one day 22 skeins of good tow yarn and a few days after, Martha Lyon, sister of Levina, spun 194 knots of good linen yarn in one day."
Some of my handspun linen thread which has multiple uses at Corgyncombe Cottage.


At age five my daughter Sarah started spinning wool on a drop spindle.


My handspun yarn, spun and plied into a very fine two-ply yarn.


I spun silk on the charkha spindle. The charkha is a delight to spin on! My two-ply silk twist is in the upper compartment. I named my Attaché charkha Content.

My handspun two-ply silk twist. It has such a lovely luster!


Cotton to be spun on my Charkha.

Below is one of my Charkhas. I also have a Journey Wheel. What a joy they are to spin on!


Spinning cotton on my book charkha I named Comfort.


Measuring my handspun two ply cotton on the skeinwinder on my Attaché charkha.
Each time around is one yard.


 Spinning a fine cotton thread on my book charkha Content.


For St. Distaff's Day I posted back in 2005 on an online group the following post:

January 2005
Subject: St. Distaff's Day
Greetings All,

Yesterday was St. Distaff's Day. I spun into the late hours. Traditionally St. Distaff's Day was the day when spinners returned to their work at the wheel after the Christmas festivities. I just love to spin, knit, and weave. I spin wool, flax, angora rabbit, mohair, llama, alpaca, silk, cat, corgi, and anything else I can get my hands on. I'm learning to spin a very fine thread of cotton. It's so different from spinning the rest of the fibers.

We hope all the spinners on the list have also returned to their wheels. We strongly encourage those who have not learned to spin to give it a try as it is one of the most pleasurable and satisfying of activities!

Take care,
Diane and daughter Sarah

 I was dismayed and disgusted to find that a person (I shall call this person "troll") had copied my "St. Distaff's Day" post almost word for word, put it on her blog, and claimed it as her own. It was like she was making believe she was me, in a strange and creepy way.  She was nasty when we asked her to remove it.

She has never apologized or asked forgiveness.

My  "St. Distaff's Day" post was all about my life, my own personal spinning experience.

The "troll" took my "St. Distaff's Day" post almost word for word and put it on her blog, and claimed it as her own, saying it was an entry from her own journal, also saying she had changed the words slightly to be readable by the public.  I feel that actually she had copied my post and changed it only slightly so that people would think my words, and therefore my life, was hers.

"Troll" mused about what her children would think about *her* based on her journals, after she was dead. What would her children think about her based on her journal post that was nearly word for word my writing and my life? Since it felt like she was taking on my life as hers, I felt even more uncomfortable that she was also talking about this after-death-aspect. It seemed so very creepy to me.

There was another blogger, I shall call her "Ruby".  The "troll" had also copied this other blogger "Ruby's" post, nearly word for word, put it on her blog, and claimed it as her own, it seemed like she was taking on "Ruby's" life, changing "Ruby's" children to her children in the copied post.  The "troll" who copied "Ruby's" post was the same "troll" who *later* copied my "St. Distaff's Day" post.

"Ruby" wrote to me in a letter about the "troll" who had copied her (the same troll who copied me). "Ruby" said it appeared that "troll" had copied several other popular bloggers (besides herself and me). "Ruby" also said that "troll", in her opinion, basically tried to become other people...

My fine cotton thread spun on a tahkli spindle.

As you can see, fiber and spinning are a big part of my life!


Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.


Our email:
atthecottagegate@yahoo.com


Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2017 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.

http://corgyncombecourant.blogspot.com/2017/01/st-distaffs-day.html

copyright © 2017 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

January 2, 2017

Shepherding the Flock

A Comforting Remembrance!
 This is a repost of a favoured post first published at the Corgyncombe Courant December 31, 2011. It was part two of my "Delightful Kindred Spirit Finds" post.
It is a true story!

Earlier in December I gathered rose hips and added to the Princess pine and rosemary. As you might recall, in my "Delightful Kindred Spirit Finds" post, I mentioned various old well loved things previously owned by a kindred spirit Martha. This little basket is another one of them.


Rose Hips hanging from the mantel and an old English shepherd's staff alongside.

An old fashioned English smock.

In "The Workwoman's Guide", originally published in 1838, there is instruction on making a smock.
In referencing bunnies and knitted rabbit wool items from Beatrix Potter's stories and a knitting pattern, Tasha Tudor mentioned "The Workwoman's Guide" and wrote to us "Maybe you also own this invaluable work?" Those at Corgyncombe find that "The Workwoman's Guide" is indeed a most valuable guide. It contains information, patterns, and instructions relating to bonnets and caps, collars, stitches, shawls, frocks, sleeves, knitting, household items, and many other things. The book has instructions for making little stitches and "neat" and "neatly" are predominant words.


The real and original Tillie Tinkham, seamstress mouse for the dolls at Corgyncombe.
Tillie Tinkham is in agreement with Tasha Tudor:
"The Workwoman's Guide" is an "invaluable work"!


The sheep in the stable remind me of my own. Raising sheep has long been a tradition in my family for many generations. In addition, my direct family surnames include both Shepard/Shepherd and Angel... puts one in a Christmastide mood!


The Shepard's Barn
I truly like the smell of the unwashed fleece. I love spinning wool in the grease. Spinning in the grease is not for everyone but I do not mind the smell of the fleece, in fact I find the smell comforting as it reminds me of when I was a little girl going into the old barn with the beautiful stone foundation and seeing all the lambs with their mamas.


 

How I just loved the little lambs!
I have loved old fashioned things since I was a little girl, even before I discovered Tasha Tudor!
The first Tasha Tudor illustrations I saw was when I was a child after the above photograph was taken and they were in "Childcraft Poems of Early Childhood". One of the poems was "Mary's Lamb" where Tasha illustrated an old fashioned schoolhouse with the children working on their slates at their desks when Mary's little lamb appears and tries to enter the schoolhouse. Tasha's illustration also shows the old schoolhouse with the lovely rolling hills in the background. I have always and forever loved rolling hills! The last illustration shows Mary tenderly giving her lamb a hug!
The photograph of me hugging the lamb reminds us of Tasha Tudor's Mary hugging her lamb and of other Tasha Tudor illustrations, as well!

What Tasha has drawn in her illustrations are the same old ways that I grew up with. I find them familiar, comforting, and I am drawn to them. [*See note below.]




A basket of Diane's handspun natural colored yarns.


The Shepard's Pasture


Sarah and Daisy the Nubian Goat, we call her Daisy Petals. Can you see why?




* I wrote the sentences below originally in June 2007 in a letter to Julie:
"What Tasha has drawn in her illustrations are the same old ways that I grew up with. I find them familiar, comforting, and I am drawn to them."


Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.


Here is a link to our post
at the Corgyncombe Courant:
Shepherding the Flock
posted December 31, 2011


Our email:
atthecottagegate@yahoo.com

Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2017 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.

http://corgyncombecourant.blogspot.com/2017/01/shepherding-flock.html
copyright © 2011 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

December 31, 2016

Delightful Kindred Spirit Finds!

Baskets, Quilts, Birds, Gardening, and Gazing at the Stars!
This is a repost of a favoured post first published at the Corgyncombe Courant December 14, 2011.
It is a true story!

I seem to have, when visiting antique shops, an ability to pick out items all previously owned by the same person. Things that I treasure, they treasured. That is what happened recently when I visited one of my favorite antique shops.
I looked up, hanging from the ceiling was this wonderful old basket, a basket that you could take into the garden and gather flowers in, be they wild flowers or home grown.

On the shelf I found a delightful old quilt of mellow colours of blue, salmon pink, and brown. This quilt was old and well loved, all hand sewn. The quilt reminds me of quilts I used to have tucked in around me when I was a little girl. I just love its warm, soft colours. I also found a linen dish towel with green and peach stripes. The quilt, the basket, and the linen towel had belonged to the same lady. I found out that she lived without electric and running water! She did her cooking and baking on an old wood cook range. I had to find out more about this lady! Later I found out that Martha was a gardener, loved watching the birds, looking at stars in the night sky, dolls, genealogy, and teaching Sunday School! I wish I could have known her, as true kindred spirits are a delight to find! We would imagine that Martha would have known and loved Tasha Tudor's illustrations, too!

There are more delightful finds of Martha's that we will share with you later!


I has always loved watching birds, too. In grade school one of my teachers loved birds and always fed them in a tree outside the window. I always liked to watch the birds instead of concentrating on school work. I received an award for perfect attendance which was a certificate to be redeemed at the bookstore. The second I walked in the bookstore I knew which book I wanted... a big wonderful book about birds. The book included a recording of all the lovely bird songs.

The Corgyncombe Courant encourages their dear readers to feed the birds throughout the winter and never forget to feed them daily as our little winged friends depend on us! The birds are always such a joy to watch and to hear! They can also be amusing to watch, like the nuthatch who likes to perch upside down.


A beautiful Tufted Titmouse in flight!


The colours of the quilt remind us of the winter birds at Corgyncombe.


A lovely Mourning Dove.


The old quilt and garden basket that belonged to Martha.
In the basket are kissing balls to be hung on the porch. On the log, near the bottom of the chair, grows some Herb-Robert. Herb-Robert has lovely pink flowers when it blooms in the spring through autumn.


This is the nest of the Red-Winged Blackbird in June.
'Tis hidden away near the ground in the goat pasture.
These nests are very hard to find but there were many of them nesting in the pasture and the meadow.
The colours of the eggs and nest also remind us of the old quilt.




This old tintype was found for 99 cents at another antique shop a little ways away from the other antique shop. It was full of mud and you could hardly see the portrait inside. It looked like it had been through a flood! At home I carefully took apart the tintype, glass, and case and cleaned everything. A lovely lady's portrait emerged! What a pretty frock she is wearing! We wonder who she was!


On St. Nicholas Day one year, Diane took this photograph of this lovely chickadee.
The morn dawned snowy, sparkly white.




On Day 14 in "An Advent Calendar from Tasha Tudor", behind the doors, right above St. Nicholas and his sleigh pulled by owls, are two chickadees resembling the chickadee in my photograph. We are loving our new Advent Calendar that was a delightful find this summer "From Tasha Tudor, An Advent Calendar, Christmas Comes But Once A Year". Day 10 had the cutest little mouse in a cornucopia that reminds us of our Tillie Tinkham! We always open the doors on the Advent Calendars on the appointed days because not to open them would be missing half of the joy!

Take Joy in the simple things, this delightful Christmastide!!!


Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.

Here is a link to our post
at the Corgyncombe Courant:
Delightful Kindred Spirit Finds
posted December 14, 2011


Our email:
atthecottagegate@yahoo.com

Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.

http://corgyncombecourant.blogspot.com/2016/12/delightful-kindred-spirit-finds.html
copyright © 2011 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

December 26, 2016

A Merry White Christmas!

The Lindenwoods Delight in Christmas Festivities!
 Lydia Lindenwood has been collecting some greens for the Christmas festivities.
How lovely her silk gown glows in the light!


Byberry Cottage, home of Susan Fenimore Cooper, the authoress of "Rural Hours", published 1850.


This book, "Little Bird Red and Little Bird Blue, A Tale of the Woods" by M. Betham Edwards, originally belonged to Susan Fenimore Cooper's niece Susie Cooper. She received it as a Christmas gift in 1863.


Little Priscilla Lindenwood admires the dove on the Christmas tree.
The Lindenwoods of Corgyncombe are Queen Anne English wooden dolls made by talented dollmaker Kathy Patterson.

"Susie Cooper with a Merry Christmas"


The trim on Byberry Cottage reminds us of the lace on Lydia Lindenwood's gown!






 "December 19th, Long walk over the hills. We passed a cart standing in the woods, well loaded with Christmas greens, for our parish church. Pine and hemlock are the branches commonly used among us for the purpose; the hemlock, with its flexible twigs, and the grayish reverse of its foliage, produces a very pretty effect. We contributed a basket-full of ground-pine, both the erect and running kinds, with some glittering club-moss, and glossy pipsissiwa, for our share; it is not every year that we can procure these more delicate plants, as the snow is often too deep to find them."
~ "Rural Hours", published 1850,
by Susan Fenimore Cooper


The church the Coopers attended. How lovely it is in the new fallen snow!
Susan's father James Fenimore Cooper saw to the remodeling of the church in the Gothic Revival style in 1840.
The Cooper family is buried in the churchyard.


"December 25th, Christmas-day - But even under a cloudy sky, Christmas must always be a happy, cheerful day; the bright fires, the fresh and fragrant greens, the friendly gifts, and words of good-will, the "Merry Christmas" smiles on most faces one meets, give a warm glow to the day, in spite of a dull sky, and make up an humble accompaniment for the exalted associations of the festival, as it is celebrated in solemn, public worship, and kept by the hearts of believing Christians. "
~ "Rural Hours", published 1850,
by Susan Fenimore Cooper



















The Lindenwoods and Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe, decorating their Christmas tree with garland.




Susan Fenimore Cooper refers to snowflakes as "spangles". How delightful!

"Cold. Walked in the afternoon. It began to snow while we were out; but one minds the falling snow very little; it is no serious obstacle like rain. The pretty, white spangles, as they fell on our muffs, in their regular but varied shapes, recalled a passage in Clarke's Travels in Russia, where he admires the same delicate frost-work as a novelty. It is common enough in this part of the world. Since Mr. Clarke's day these pretty spangles have received the compliment of a serious examination, they have actually been studied, and drawn in all their varieties. Like all natural objects, they are very admirable in their construction, and they are very beautiful also."
~ "Rural Hours", published 1850,
by Susan Fenimore Cooper











"December 25th, Christmas-day - It is, in good sooth, Merry Christmas! The day is bright with blessings; all its hours are beaming with good and kindly feelings, with true and holy joys."
~ "Rural Hours", published 1850,
by Susan Fenimore Cooper

We at the Corgyncombe Courant hope our
Dear Readers had a very Merry Christmas!


Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.


Our email:
atthecottagegate@yahoo.com


Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.

http://corgyncombecourant.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-merry-white-christmas.html
copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~