Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Nostepinde Experience

I've been looking lately into what tools a medieval woman would need in her collection to effectively run a household. Obviously pots to cook in, bowls to mix in, boards or tables to knead on, and a spindle to spin with. But then what to do with the wool once spun but not ready to weave or knit yet? While there is always your thumb that you can wrap a ball around, what I have found is the nostepinde (which is spelled a billion different ways) I wrote about my experience wrapping on a "homemade" (soprano recorder with the bell taken off) nostepinde on my Knitting blog. So as not to have to repeat it, you can just follow the link. It did work well and I can see it becoming much easier to use as I get used to the new exercise.


Greet said...

(You may as well have hollered 'Greet!') Winding yarn into balls for storage is not the best idea. The elasticity of wool is stressed over the long term, reducing its life, and for nonelastic linen, if you've ever tried to pull from a centerpull ball, you'll understand why the Egyptians left us pictures of non-centerpull balls. Linen is intrinsically snaggy, and it catches on itself and makes a HUGE mess in a centerpull ball. (Even the modern commercial sort of waxed linen yarn should be approached with caution and soft voices.)

The solution is of course skeins, so you'll want to add a skeinwinder of some sort to your housewife's kit. I have a very nice portrait featuring one in Baines' Linen book. There's the additional advantages of not having to unwind and rewind when dyeing day comes around too.

Though that makes me wonder if there are any pictures of warping boards in the record with weavers' equipment, or is that sort of detail not interesting to anyone but the person who has to actually measure and count warp and keep it from tangling until it's installed on the loom. Being such a person (new loom on the 22nd!!), I'm rather keenly interested in acquiring a warping board these days.

Greet said...

On the subject of the housewife's kit, something I've been pondering too as part of my 'fit all worldly goods into a trunk' project, I recently reorganized all my garb, bedding, and feastgear into the trunk, and went crowing to my husband.

"All Greet's stuff is in that box," I said, "well, except her spinning wheel, and distaff, and skeinwinder," (he's starting to laugh) "and the loom that's coming, and her tent, and sunshade, and bench, and cot...well, all the big stuff that won't fit." Maybe I could make the wheel and bench and a different design of distaff fit, but I don't think that's important.

The distaff designs (and dressing techniques) are frankly mindboggling for me at this point. Baines does a great job showing how at least five work, and I'm very impressed with her re-enactment scholarship. I'm thinking I want at least a truncheon distaff, because that's what's shown in the illustrations when a woman finds herself in need of a weapon. It's tucked into her belt anyway...

Mel. said...

Well, I managed to lose my end to pull from the center somewhere in the winding process (thanks to not securing it well enough and not paying attention to the end as I wound. So it is a regular ball anyway. And it isn't linen, but lovely merino yarn (as seen on my knitting blog). I've not balled the pink yarn as it doesn't have a project yet.

Mel. said...

Greet, you have to read the lyrics to this song:

It's written by an old friend of mine from our days in An Tir.