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Distaff Day, also called Rock Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff's Day, since it was not really a holiday at all. In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women's work. Often the men and women would play pranks on each other during this day, 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.
Saint Distaffs Day, or the Morrow after Twelfth Day
by Robert Herrick
Partly worke and partly play
Ye must on S. Distaffs day:
From the Plough soone free your teame;
Then come home and fother them.
If the Maides a spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-haire.
Bring in pailes of water then,
Let the Maides bewash the men.
Give S. Distaffe all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night;
And next morrow, every one
To his owne vocation.
Yes, I have become a spinner. And what better day to talk about it than Distaff Day? The historical first day back to work after the twelve days of Christmas are up and people typically wanted to goof off half the day? Sounds normal to me. The picture up above is my spindle and my first two little hanks of yarn. They weigh the same, but the blue one has almost four times the yardage. I certainly managed to spin it thinner than the first, huh?
My spinning wheel should arrive tomorrow. It's sitting in the UPS warehouse in town waiting to go on the truck. I wish I could just wave my spindle and shout, "Accio Wheel!" Alas, I will have to wait.
Here's a picture of my sewing machine. Isn't it cute? My daughter, M, has been wanting to sew things. As a reward for finishing all her schoolwork for the day, she gets to sew. Unfortunately, with all this having the house on the market stuff, my sewing machine has sat unused for much longer than it ever has before. It needs oil, and I'm out. A trip to the fabric store is in order sometime this week.