Thursday, January 7, 2016


I love it when I learn something special about the history of a craft I do.  I have followed the art of crochet right back to it's early beginnings, and it is fascinating.

This morning, a fellow spinner, my dear friend Charlotte, shared this post on Face book.  I had never heard of this day before, or these customs - fascinating!

I couldn't wait to share them with you.  Many of you don't spin, or even knit - but we should pay attention to these little gems from another time.  They tell us so much about the culture of women and men - these were the traditions that set us on the path towards today.  

I for one am thankful for them, not just because I spin and knit and work with a lot of different types of fibre - but because I am a woman living in such a different world today.  It is humbling indeed to learn from and acknowledge  those that went before.

So here is to the men and women of the past.

And Happy Distaff Day to us all!

"Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff's Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations. 

Many St. Distaff's Day gatherings were held, large and small, throughout local fiber community. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women's work.

In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth.

Men have their own way of celebrating this occasion; this is done through Plough Monday. It is the first Monday after Epiphany where men are supposed to get back to work.

Every few years, Distaff Day and Plough Monday falls on the same day. Often the men and women would play pranks on each other during this celebration, as was written by Robert Herrick in his poem "Saint Distaffs day, or the Morrow After Twelfth Day" which appears in his Hesperides.

Some modern craft groups have taken up the celebration of Distaff day as part of their new year celebrations." -Wiki

1 comment:

  1. Dale, this is SO COOL! I'd never heard of it either, but had heard of Plough Monday. Thanks for sharing.