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.

I was not amongst the first to let "Ruby" know that "troll" had copied her. "Ruby" told me it was actually "Ruby's" own children who had found the post "troll" had copied. Her children told "Ruby" that it appeared "troll" was trying to copy "Ruby" yet "again".

The "troll" who copied "Ruby's" post was the same "troll" who *later* copied my "St. Distaff's Day" post.

In what seems to me the oddest twist, "troll" had even gone as far as to show up, in person, to see "Ruby" right after "troll" took "Ruby's" post from "Ruby's"  blog. "Troll" had copied "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.

In my opinion, that seems bizarre but not only did "troll" show up in person to see "Ruby"...

"Ruby" wrote to me in a letter that during their in person meeting, "troll" brought up the subject of "Ruby's" blog, saying to "Ruby" how difficult having a blog in the public eye and dealing with people must be.

 "Troll" brought up to "Ruby" the difficulties of having a blog when she "troll" was causing problems?? To me, this seems an odd and twisted thing to do, under the circumstances!

By bringing this up, the subject of the difficulties that "Ruby" must have with having a public blog, when *she, the troll* was actually causing a problem by copying "Ruby's" blog nearly word for word, putting it on her blog and saying it was hers, seeming like she was taking on "Ruby's" life, it seems to me, in my opinion, "troll" was reveling in being able to watch "Ruby's" pain in person and being able to cause the pain herself but not admitting that she, "troll", had taken "Ruby's" 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:

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.


copyright © 2017 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson