Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spin like you're Medieval posted to my YouTube channel

I am happy to announce a new Historical spinning video on my YouTube channel:

Spin like you're Medieval

In five minutes, I demo the small spindles of the 11th-14th centuries in England (especially the area around York, England).  This area seems to have retained the tradition of these short spindles for several centuries.  The influence is Anglo-Norse.  Exactly what these little spindles were used for is the real question.  Unlike today, very fine yarns were likely to have mainly been used in singles form for weaving.  But the Coppergate surviving spindles have a nok both top and bottom, which makes them a puzzle.  Two-ply yarns could easily have been plied on them.  Two-ply yarn in that time period would have been needed for sewing thread, tablet weaving warps, embroidery thread and braiding strands, but not for knitting, which has not appeared in England yet.  The illuminations from the 1300's (Luttrell Psalter and Decretals of Gregory IX) show short spindles with compact round cops on them.  As an Independent Researcher I must wonder what the advantages are of such a form.  Hence the experiments with the recreated spindles and test swoping out of many whorls.  I have 'more to say' but have to go back to the lathe right now!!!! More spindles, more spindles.  My Etsy shop is thirsty (

I edited this video from the raw footage that my daughter, Tammy Swales, was kind enough to shoot while we celebrated first my birthday, and then hers.  We had a great deal of fun working together, as you might see in the video.  We are somewhat dangerous together; sometimes things spin out of control……...I am slowly learning to do my own video editing, but it is a big learning curve.  I hope I am improving in doing these.

There is another video upcoming, "Spin like you're Scottish", probably ready in early Fall.  I have to combine my research and the timing of the videos.  I am still frantically researching and testing out spindle shapes.  To say nothing of coming up with some sort of historical costuming. I am known to be 'frumpy' in the modern world.  It turns out I am just as frumpy as a re-enactor in costume!

PS: The blue wool on the distaff is commercially, chemically dyed the most radiant blue.  I am quite certain it is not the least bit Medieval in hue.  But it stands out so well visually.