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Monday, 7 January 2013

St Distaff's Day

Happy New Year everyone.  Thought it was about time I put in an appearance here in blogland.  I haven't really done much so far this year after waking up on the 1st with a cold.  Not a bad one thankfully, and I'm over it now and back to normal.

In case you didn't know (and why would you?) today is known as St Distaff's Day. Actually, my French calendar tells me that today belongs to St Raymond, which is the real saint for today.  St Distaff is not a real saint, and in days gone by the 7th January was known as Distaff Day which gradually acquired the name "Saint".

Traditionally, St Distaff's Day was the day women returned to their labours after the 12th day of Christmas.  Their daily work included spinning and so the distaff was used to symbolise "women's labours".  Interestingly, the men didn't return to work until the first Monday after 12th night, so in some years they would get almost a week longer than the women!  Makes you wonder who made the rules!!

Anyway, to finish this little story, today has been adopted by spinners around the world, and today there will be lots of spinning wheels in action, mine included (after I've got the ironing pile down a little bit that is).  This is what I've been spinning this week :-

more "floor sweepings" from World of Wool
I picked out all the different shades of grey and am generally mixing them up on the bobbin to make a sort of marled effect (hopefully).  The wool on the right is a little bit coarse and hairy, so I'm mixing that in very thinly and will probably use the finished wool to make socks.

the hairy bits are the coarse wool

Oh, and I forgot to show you my other finished knitting project :-

This was Eric's Christmas present - it's a Mini Mania Scarf (pattern from Ravelry). Unfortunately, I didn't get it finished in time for Christmas - it's very difficult knitting something in secret when the recipient is always around - but I did manage to finish by the 27th.

This scarf is knit end to end, and at the end of each row the yarn is cut to leave a tail which is knotted with the tail from the next row to form a fringe.  The stitch used is linen stitch which is very easy once you've got into the rhythm of it, and makes the scarf look almost woven.  This is another pattern that uses small balls of leftover yarn, although I spun them specially.  I've now got quite a stash of bits and pieces, so may make one for me before too long.  I'm glad to say he likes the scarf, and the colours really suit him.

So, Happy St. Distaff's Day, hope you manage to spend a part of it doing something you really like!

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